Some people engage in recreational drug use for fun, relief, or to heighten sexual intercourse, but drug use can lead to a higher chance of contracting or transmitting HIV and other STDs.

Drug use can lead to increased risk for contracting or transmitting HIV or STDs because of how a person’s mind and body react. Many drugs impair the user’s judgment, sometimes leading to engaging in risky behavior such as unprotected sex. Some research also shows that the body’s immune system is also lowered during drug use, making it harder for a body to fight off potential infections.

During injection drug use, HIV is spread from the blood of an infected person to another through needle sharing. Hepatitis A, B, and C also can spread through sharing needles with an infected person.

Abstaining from drug use is the only way to prevent the negative health effects caused by their use. However, when partying with drugs, users can take steps to minimize the chances for exposure to HIV and other STDs. These steps include:

  • Knowing the status of yourself and your partners
  • Establishing ground rules (“make sure we use condoms”; “let’s not share needles”)
  • Having safer sex and safer drug use supplies readily available (condoms and clean injection equipment)

To learn more about specific substances, click on the following links:


Anabolic Steroids







Poppers (amyl nitrate)

Special K