Desperate heroin users in a few African cities have begun engaging in a
practice that is so dangerous it is almost unthinkable: they
deliberately inject themselves with another addict’s blood, researchers
say, in an effort to share the high or stave off the pangs of
The practice, called flashblood or sometimes flushblood, is not common,
but has been reported in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on the island of
Zanzibar and in Mombasa, Kenya.
It puts users at the highest possible risk of contracting AIDS and hepatitis.
While most AIDS transmission in Africa is by heterosexual sex, the use
of heroin is growing in some cities, and experts are warning that
flashblood — along with syringe-sharing and other dangerous habits —
could fuel a new wave of AIDS infections.