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What We Have Learned from Research about the Prevention of HIV Transmission among Drug Abusers

Zili Sloboda
Public Health Reports (1974-)
Vol. 113, Supplement 1: HIV Prevention with Drug-Using Populations: Current Status and Future Prospects (Jun., 1998), pp. 194-204
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4598289
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
What We Have Learned from Research about the Prevention of HIV Transmission among Drug Abusers
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Abstract

Objective: After more than 10 years of experience conducting behavioral change interventions and with accumulated research results, several emergent principles have been identified for the effective prevention of HIV transmission among drug abusers. In August 1997, a symposium was held in Flagstaff, Arizona, to achieve two major purposes: (1) to synthesize the findings from HIV prevention research conducted to date for interventions targeting drug abusers and (2) to extract a preliminary set of prevention principles that could be linked to effectiveness across at least two or more studies. This chapter summarizes the key findings of that symposium. Methods: Major findings were abstracted from the conclusion sections of the presentations and from the chapters included in this special volume. Many consistencies regarding intervention approaches across studies were noted. These findings are discussed under the following headings: General Observations, Engagement, Multiple Interventions, Intervention Issues, Methodological Issues, and Translation from Research to Practice. Suggested areas for further research are also presented and discussed. Results: Ten principles that have implications for HIV prevention interventions emerged from this preliminary review of the research. These principles engage drug users into the intervention; specify target behaviors and attitudes for intervention; suggest settings to optimize outreach; and recommend booster approaches to reinforce knowledge, skills, and attitudes learned through the intervention. Conclusions: The drug abuse community is threatened by the incursion of HIV and by the hepatitis viruses A, B, and C. The same behaviors are involved in transmitting all of these viruses. The first generation of research to assess the impact of a variety of interventions delivered among drug abusers to prevent HIV has shown consistently favorable findings, proving that drug abusers can be helped to change their risky drug-using behaviors and, to a lesser extent, their risky sexual behaviors. The need to translate these findings for community practitioners is heightened by the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS.

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