Public Policy Statement on the Treatment of Patients with Alcoholism or Other Drug Dependencies and Who Have or Are at Risk For Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
The American Society on Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recognizes that some patients in need of treatment for alcoholism and/or other drug dependencies may have Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), AIDS Related Complex (ARC), or may have a positive test for HTLV-III antibodies. Intravenous drug users are a high-risk group for AIDS. The use of mood altering drugs (i.e. alcohol, marijuana and perhaps others) may depress the immune system and affect prevention and treatment of AIDS.
• ASAM strongly recommends that physicians, other health professionals, and programs for the treatment of alcoholism and other drug dependencies provide treatment for these patients.
• Case by case assessment of the medical status of each patient should be made to determine physical capacity to undergo treatment for alcoholism and other drug dependencies. Continuing medical follow-up by a physician familiar with AIDS is recommended.
• Currently there is anxiety among staffs and other patients about associating with AIDS patients. All personnel, including clinical, dietary, maintenance and housekeeping, should be educated with the latest medical data.
• Patients with AIDS do not require isolation techniques any different from patients with active Hepatitis B. Guidelines for the protection of staff and other patients from Hepatitis B should be followed. Caps, masks, gloves and other kinds of protective wear are not necessary in routine contact, e.g., blood pressure checks and group therapy.
• Continued medical monitoring after detoxification period is recommended for these patients.
• The principle of confidentiality, critical to all aspects of alcoholism and other drug dependencies treatment is particularly important with these patients.