Cocaine could make people more susceptible to contracting HIV, according to a new study. Without reading it, I'm assuming this has to do with how cocaine also makes people more susceptible to butt sex.
You know how in Requiem for a Dream whenever they do drugs, their eyes dilate? That happens to me, except with my butt hole. So with anal sex nearly 20 times riskier for contracting HIV than vaginal sex, I kind of figured that was the connection.
However, the new study—published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology—made no mention of butt sex. Instead, researchers found that cocaine makes CD4 T-cells more easily infected by HIV. Additionally, coke boosts the spread of the virus through the cells.
The researchers separated inactive, or "quiescent," CD4 T-cells from healthy adults and then put them in an environment with cocaine. Researchers then infected the cells with HIV. They compared the rate and mechanism of the HIV infection in the cocaine-affected cells to CD4 T-cells that were exposed to HIV, but not the drug.
After three days, they discovered that cocaine made it easier for T-cells to be infected with HIV.
In addition to finding that cocaine weakens immune cells and puts users at a higher risk of contracting HIV, researchers also theorized that the "overall decline in CD4 cell counts might happen either faster or might happen in a way that actually predisposes to the development of AIDS."
Image via Tatiana Popova/Shutterstock