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National Institute on Drug Abuse -  NIDA NOTES
Drug Abuse and AIDS
Volume 13, Number 5 (February, 1999)

Special Journal Supplement Summarizes Research On HIV Prevention in Drug-Using Populations

To underscore the importance of research on prevention of HIV/AIDS in drug-using populations, the publishers of Public Health Reports issued a special supplement in June 1998 focusing on the current status of national and international research on the subject. In the supplement, co-edited by Dr. Richard Needle, chief of NIDA's Community Research Branch (CRB), Dr. Susan Coyle, chief of NIDA's Clinical, Epidemiological, and Applied Sciences Review Branch, and Helen Cesari of CRB, researchers report on interventions that have proven effective in helping drug users change their behaviors and reduce their risk of HIV infection.

The supplement reviews more than a decade of HIV prevention research supported by NIDA. Research reported in the issue indicates that community-based intervention strategies have proved to be effective in averting HIV infection by providing drug-using populations with the means for changing their drug use patterns, needle practices, and sexual behaviors.

Articles highlight seven HIV prevention principles, including the need to:

  • initiate HIV prevention interventions early in the epidemic;

  • implement interventions at legal, institutional, community, network, and individual levels;

  • implement interventions in multiple settings such as streets, shooting galleries, clinics, needle exchange programs, and drug treatment centers;

  • target multiple risk behaviors such as drug use, needle risk, and sexual practices;

  • provide access to risk reduction information and supplies, including injection hygiene materials, condoms, and HIV antibody testing with counseling;

  • recognize that populations at risk for HIV are in varying stages of readiness to engage in interventions and create opportunities for repeated exposures; and

  • be assured that risk reduction is an appropriate, realistic outcome of HIV interventions.

NIDA made this supplement available to scientists at the 12th World AIDS Conference in Geneva last summer.

NIDA NOTES - Volume 13, Number 5

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