Cocaine Addiction Information
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cokeA new study produces astounding results linking cocaine usage to HIV contraction. Published in the October edition of Journal of Leukocyte Biology, the study found that cocaine use may affect the immune system cells that increase susceptibility to contract the virus. Cocaine was also found to boost the spread of the virus through the body by attacking and weakening certain immune cells, rendering the body unfit and unable to fight.

CD4 T-Cells are cells, which boost the immune system. The cells’ normal job is to fight off sickness to keep the body healthy. The study showed that when cocaine is introduced into the body, the drug works to make the CD4 T-cells inactive, causing the body to be more susceptible to sickness. In the study, researchers separated inactive CD4 T-cells from a healthy adult and exposed them to cocaine. The cells were then infected with HIV and compared with cocaine-less cells also infected with HIV. The tests sat for three days and upon returning, researchers found that cocaine made the T-cells more easily infected with the virus. The cocaine was able to find the specific cell in the body and weaken it.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse conducted a survey that showed 1.9 million people were using coke the month before they were surveyed and 359,000 were using crack cocaine (a derivative of the drug in rock form rather than powder). Adults between the ages of 18 and 25 had the highest use rates with men more likely to use than women.

In a study conducted by the NIDA, researchers found that cocaine affects men and women differently due to hormonal fluctuations. Men and women were tested (the women during two points of their menstrual cycle – once during the follicular phase and once during the luteal phase). Results showed that women were less sensitive to the effects of the drug than the men. The men experienced more euphoria and dysphoria (bad feelings) than their female counterparts. Though both received equal doses, the women had less cocaine in their blood than the men, especially during the luteal phase. A specialist at the agency stated that the woman’s cycle builds up more physical barriers, which make them less exposed to the cocaine. The results might explain why men are more likely to use cocaine than women.

Women are not less susceptible to physical ailments due to cocaine, however. In the Women’s Interagency HIV Study, women were enrolled to be tested for deficiencies due to cocaine usage. More specifically, researchers wanted to find out if crack / cocaine usage influenced the natural history of HPV (human papillomavirus). The women were observed every six months via Pap smear, a collection of cervicovaginal lavage (CVL), and detailed questions in regards to their general health and behavior. The results were astounding. In all three observations, tests showed prevalent detection of the HPV.

Researchers have upturned some disturbing facts about how cocaine affects the immune system in the body. Besides the dangers that are common, the stimulation and high addiction rate due to the “high and low”, the drug introduces unnatural chemicals into the body that affect its ability to fight off disease and stay healthy. Due to the fact that cocaine users are likely to share needles and other means of “ingesting” the drug, the chance as becoming sick are very high.

The dangers with drugs keep climbing as more and more results are discovered from research and testing. This is just another reason to turn away from drugs. The body will react to the drug, but the user might not be willing to live with the consequences. In this case, the consequences are a lifelong commitment. Again, risk-reward comes into question. Is it worth it?


Bowersox, J. A. (1996). Cocaine Affects Men and Women Differently, NIDA Study Shows. NIDA Notes: Research Advances, Volume 11, Number 1. Castillo, M. (2013, October 3). Cocaine may make people more susceptible to HIV. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from

National Institute of Health. (2008, April 15). The Relationship between Cocaine Use and Human Papillomavirus Infections in HIV-Seropositive and HIV-Seronegative Women. Retrieved October 11, 2013, from