Drug addicts are more susceptible to possible kidney failure, especially those with HIV infection, says a new study.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggest that kidney functions of injection drug users need to be carefully monitored and make medical interventions if required.

In order to find out how drug addicts are more prone to kidney failure, the U.S. scientists analyzed the presence of proteinuria in 902 injection drug users. Among these 273 were HIV-positive.

Proteinuria is caused by excessive excretion of protein in the urine, which can lead to kidney failure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

The research team found that about one in every four injection drug users suffered from proteinuria. The prevalence rate of proteinuria was nearly three times more among those with HIV at 45 percent compared to 16 percent among the HIV-negative drug users.

Unemployment, older age, diabetes, hepatitis C infection or high blood pressure was the other factors that were linked to a higher prevalence of proteinuria, says Shruti H. Mehta of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who worked on the project with her colleagues.

The researchers recommended that doctors should screen HIV-infected injection drug users for proteinuria and consider them for treatments to protect the heart and kidneys. Their findings were published online in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.