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/ / DON'T DO being warned HIV warning for steroid users; Expert says virus is 'within' drug using city bodybuilders.

Byline: LUKE TRAYNOR Chief Reporter luke.traynor@trinitymirror.com @LUKETRAYNORECHO

| ||DON'T DO IT: City steroid uses are being warned about a link to HIV is "within Liverpool's steroid community", an expert on the drug has warned as the number of young men using the muscle drug continues to grow.

Anabolic steroids are often injected with needles - leading to a rise of the virus among the city's steroid users, according to Jim McVeigh, an expert at Liverpool John Moores University.

The warning about the dangers of the drug comes as the ECHO reveals that two Merseyside Police officers have been suspended for testing positive for anabolic steroids in the last five years, but later reinstated.

There have been 13 arrests relating to the supply of anabolic steroids and 12 seizures of the drug since 2013, according to figures released to the ECHO under Freedom of Information laws.

It is not against the law to possess anabolic steroids, but it is illegal to manufacture or supply the muscleenhancing drug.

Dr McVeigh said there has been a nationwide surge in the number of young people turning to anabolic steroids, often without knowledge of the serious health risks.

He said: "A concerning proportion of young men are turning to anabolic steroids who would not have done in the past.

"And virtually all the anabolic steroids that are available are manufactured illicitly, so there's no control over the production. "Different ones will have different effects. With oral steroids you are not risking the injection-related problems but it is toxic to the liver.

"The main health concerns are not the physiological or pharmacological effects, it's the fact that they are injected.

"We know that some people injecting steroids in Liverpool have contracted HIV so we know that HIV is within that community."

He said he was not surprised that police officers have been suspended for steroid use, and said that its use within the force is not as acceptable as it once was.

He said Liverpool was one of the cities at the forefront of steroids' growth in popularity when they become established in the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

"There were certain parts of the UK that steroids seemed to impact before others, and Merseyside was one of them. But it seems to be right across the whole country now."

A Merseyside Police spokesman confirmed two officers had been suspended but said both were reinstated after the allegations were not proven.

The spokesman said: "Since April 2012, the force has been able to test for anabolic steroids 'with cause' where intelligence indicates the officer or staff member is using such drugs.

"An officer will be suspended if a sample proves positive following scientific analysis."

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 6, 2016
Words:452
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