Why do you need to know about substance use?
Drugs, alcohol, and HIV
Using drugs or alcohol can increase a person’s risk for acquiring or
transmitting HIV. This website will help you learn how to protect yourself
and others, even if you decide to continue using drugs or alcohol. There
are two main ways that drug use can increase HIV risk:
- Sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs can lead to HIV transmission.
- Using drugs or alcohol during sex can affect a person’s ability
to make decisions about when and with whom to have sex and about condom
For more details on how substance use affects HIV risk, see:
- Fact Sheet: How Do Club Drugs Impact HIV Prevention?
- Fact Sheet: What
Are Substance Users HIV Prevention Needs?
Some recreational drugs can impact the course of HIV disease or interact with
HIV/AIDS medications. People living with HIV need to know how drugs and alcohol
might affect them so they can make informed decisions about their health.
Where can you get help with substance use issues?
Whether you want to stop using drugs or alcohol, reduce your use, find safer
ways to use, or learn strategies to have safer sex while using, there are
many resources you can access. In San Francisco, we believe in harm reduction.
Harm reduction embraces and acknowledges a wide range of possibilities with
respect to drug use – from safer use to abstinence. The goal of harm
reduction is to reduce the negative consequences associated with drug and
If you just need information, check out the resources at the bottom of this
page. If you are seeking treatment for substance use, want counseling or
support to reduce your HIV risk, or want to know where the needle exchange
sites are in San Francisco, use our online
services database to find a service or program that’s
right for you.