DEAR ABBY: I just read your response to "Nameless in a Red State," who asked if she could become addicted to drugs by having sex with an addict.
You were correct to point out that it's important she stay away from people who are addicted to drugs if she wants to stay clean. I work in a methadone clinic. My clients know they have to be careful who their friends are. It is very easy to start using drugs again while in treatment if you're spending time around people who are using.
I was, however, disappointed that you didn't mention that having sex with a drug addict is a recipe for getting AIDS and many other sexually transmitted diseases. (I call it the gift that keeps on giving.) People must remember that when they have unprotected sex with someone, they are also having sex with everyone that person has had sex with. Latex condoms are the best defense against sexually transmitted diseases. -- R.N. IN BLUE NEW JERSEY
DEAR R.N.: I'm sorry you were disappointed that my answer didn't go far enough; however, the woman's question was, "Can I become addicted to drugs by having sex with an addict?" I answered her question factually and specifically.
I also heard from a physician who felt I should have elaborated further. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: In your reply to the writer, you failed to mention the most dangerous complications of such behavior, infection with potentially fatal diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C or AIDS. There is a high incidence of these diseases among drug addicts because of the sharing of contaminated needles, and they can also be transmitted through sexual relations. -- ALEXANDER N. ZINN, M.D., WINNETKA, CALIF.
DEAR DR. ZINN: Your letter makes me wonder how many lives could be saved if clean-needle exchange programs were available in every city. Thank you for clarifying my answer.