Federal and State Action Needed to End the Infectious Complications of Illicit Drug Use in the United States: IDSA and HIVMA's Advocacy Agenda

Document Type


Publication Date



Infection Control

Journal Title

The Journal of infectious diseases

MeSH Headings

Bacteremia (epidemiology, prevention & control, transmission); Communicable Disease Control (organization & administration); Federal Government; HIV Infections (epidemiology, prevention & control, transmission); Health Policy; Hepatitis B (epidemiology, prevention & control, transmission); Hepatitis C (epidemiology, prevention & control, transmission); Human Rights; Humans; Illicit Drugs (adverse effects); Infectious Disease Medicine (organization & administration); Intersectoral Collaboration; Invasive Fungal Infections (epidemiology, etiology, prevention & control); Opioid Epidemic (prevention & control, statistics & numerical data); Patient Advocacy; Preventive Health Services (organization & administration); Public Health Administration; Societies, Medical; State Government; Substance-Related Disorders (complications, epidemiology); United States (epidemiology)


In response to the opioid crisis, IDSA and HIVMA established a working group to drive an evidence- and human rights-based response to illicit drug use and associated infectious diseases. Infectious diseases and HIV physicians have an opportunity to intervene, addressing both conditions. IDSA and HIVMA have developed a policy agenda highlighting evidence-based practices that need further dissemination. This paper reviews (1) programs most relevant to infectious diseases in the 2018 SUPPORT Act; (2) opportunities offered by the "End the HIV Epidemic" initiative; and (3) policy changes necessary to affect the trajectory of the opioid epidemic and associated infections. Issues addressed include leveraging harm reduction tools and improving integrated prevention and treatment services for the infectious diseases and substance use disorder care continuum. By strengthening collaborations between infectious diseases and addiction specialists, including increasing training in substance use disorder treatment among infectious diseases and addiction specialists, we can decrease morbidity and mortality associated with these overlapping epidemics.

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