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June 01, 1995

Because of the strong link between drug abuse and the transmission of HIV, NIDA-funded researchers are strongly urged to provide HIV risk-reduction counseling and access to HIV anti testing to individuals who are participating in NIDA-supported study projects. In announcing the policy, NIDA Director Dr. Alan I. Leshner pointed out that HIV risk-reduction interventions have been shown to be effective in reducing drug-abuse-related behaviors that heighten the risk of spreading HIV.

The policy applies both to NIDA-funded programs for community outreach and intervention and to research conducted in clinics, hospitals, or clinical laboratories that involves ongoing contact with persons at risk for HIV infection. Those considered at risk include injecting drug users, crack cocaine users, and sexually active drug users and their sexual partners.

"Given the tremendous impact of the AIDS epidemic and the significant role of drug abuse in the transmission of HIV, NIDA has developed a policy to help reduce HIV risk behaviors and infection in drug-using populations, their sexual partners, and their children," said Dr. Leshner.

HIV risk-reduction counseling includes education about HIV and AIDS, the behaviors that transmit HIV, and how to reduce the risk of transmission. Counselors also encourage individuals to have their blood tested for HIV.

Current grantees are encouraged to implement the policy as soon as possible. NIDA will use this policy when considering requests for supplemental funding of ongoing projects.

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