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NIDA. (2002, April 1). NIDA Announces Science-Based Principles of HIV Prevention in Drug Users. Retrieved from https://archives.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2002/04/nida-announces-science-based-principles-hiv-prevention-in-drug-users

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April 01, 2002
Photo of HIV Prevention Intervention With Two WomenHIV prevention interventions must be personalized for each individual at risk.

During the past 15 years, NIDA research on the co-occurring epidemics of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS has yielded a set of prevention principles to guide community planners, policymakers, service providers, and medical practitioners. To foster widespread application of these science-based principles in programs to prevent the spread of HIV and other infections among drug users and their sexual partners, NIDA has prepared a new handbook: Principles of HIV Prevention in Drug-Using Populations.

Scheduled for release in summer 2002, the handbook summarizes the overarching principles that characterize effective HIV/AIDS prevention in drug-using populations, elaborates on these principles in a "frequently asked questions" section, describes the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS risk behaviors, and provides an overview of related, NIDA-supported research programs. The 17 science-based prevention principles are:

  • Reducing the risk of HIV/AIDS in drug users is an achievable goal.
  • A community must start HIV/AIDS prevention programs as soon as possible.
  • Effective prevention programs require a comprehensive range of coordinated services.
  • Prevention programs should work with the community to plan and implement interventions and services.
  • Prevention programs must be based on a thorough, continuing assessment of local community needs, and the effectiveness and impact of these programs must be continually assessed.
  • Prevention services can most effectively reach drug-using populations when they are available in a variety of locations and at a range of operating times.
    NIDA research on the co-occurring epidemics of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS has yielded a set of prevention principles to guide community planners, policymakers, service providers, and medical practitioners.
  • Prevention and treatment efforts should target drug users who already have HIV infection, as well as their sex partners.
  • Prevention efforts must target not only individuals, but also couples, social networks, and the broader community of drug users and their sex partners.
  • Community-based outreach is an essential component of HIV/AIDS prevention and must be directed to drug users in their own neighborhoods.
  • Prevention interventions must be personalized for each person at risk.
  • Drug users and their sex partners must be treated with dignity and respect and with sensitivity to cultural, racial/ethnic, age, and gender-based characteristics.
  • As part of a comprehensive HIV prevention program, injection drug users should have ready access to sterile injection equipment to reduce their use of previously used injection equipment.
  • In a comprehensive program, interventions that target injection risk must address sharing other injection equipment in addition to syringes.
  • While necessary, risk-reduction information alone cannot help drug users and their sex partners make lasting behavioral changes.
  • Prevention efforts must address the risks of transmitting HIV and other infections sexually as well as through drug injection.
  • HIV/AIDS risk-reduction interventions must be sustained over time.
  • Community-based prevention is cost-effective.
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