Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
Although there remains a large concentration of injection drug users in major cities, especially in and around Buenos Aires, an alarming rise in the smoking of coca paste – an intermediate product in the processing of coca leaves into powder cocaine – seems to be leading to a decline in HIV transmission through injection drug use in Argentina. It is reported that coca paste smokers experience rapid weight loss, and yet, few, if any, research studies have examined the nutritional and metabolic status or HIV risk factors in this rapidly increasing group. The study aims to recruit 90 HIV-positive and 190 HIV-negative participants from FUNDAI, a non-profit HIV/AIDS organization, and CENARESO, a provider of inpatient and outpatient services for drug addiction. We estimate that 180 of the 280 participants we will recruit will be using coca paste as their primary drug of choice.