Fifteen years of research on preventing HIV infection among injecting drug users: What we have learned, what we have not learned, what we have done, what we have not done

Don Des Jarlais, S. R. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was formally identified among injecting drug users (IDUs) in 1981, and research on preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among drug injectors began shortly thereafter. At the time this research was begun, there was a general assumption that drug users (who were called drug abusers at that time) were too self-destructive and their behavior too chaotic for them to change their behavior to avoid infection with HIV. This chapter reviews the history of research on implementation of programs for prevention of HIV infection among IDUs. Methods. Reviews of both research and program implementation research were conducted. Consultative discussions of issues and findings were conducted with researchers in the United States and other countries. Results. An extremely large amount of useful information has accumulated during the past 15 years. We now know that the great majority of IDUs will change their injecting behavior in response to the threat of AIDS and that these behavior changes are effective in reducing HIV transmission among drug injectors. Additional insight is needed regarding the apparent insufficiency of some prevention programs to control HIV, the transmission dynamics of rapid HIV spread, and the persistence of moderate to high incidence of HIV infection in high seroprevalence populations. Despite the current research knowledge base, implementation of effective prevention programs in many countries is nonexistent to incomplete. Conclusion. The most important barrier to reducing HIV transmission among drug injectors is not a lack of knowledge but the failure to implement effective prevention programs in many parts of the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-188
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Reports
Volume113
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1998

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Virus Diseases
Drug Users
HIV
Research
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Self-Injurious Behavior
Knowledge Bases
Seroepidemiologic Studies
History
Research Personnel
Incidence
Infection
Population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

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title = "Fifteen years of research on preventing HIV infection among injecting drug users: What we have learned, what we have not learned, what we have done, what we have not done",
abstract = "Objective. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was formally identified among injecting drug users (IDUs) in 1981, and research on preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among drug injectors began shortly thereafter. At the time this research was begun, there was a general assumption that drug users (who were called drug abusers at that time) were too self-destructive and their behavior too chaotic for them to change their behavior to avoid infection with HIV. This chapter reviews the history of research on implementation of programs for prevention of HIV infection among IDUs. Methods. Reviews of both research and program implementation research were conducted. Consultative discussions of issues and findings were conducted with researchers in the United States and other countries. Results. An extremely large amount of useful information has accumulated during the past 15 years. We now know that the great majority of IDUs will change their injecting behavior in response to the threat of AIDS and that these behavior changes are effective in reducing HIV transmission among drug injectors. Additional insight is needed regarding the apparent insufficiency of some prevention programs to control HIV, the transmission dynamics of rapid HIV spread, and the persistence of moderate to high incidence of HIV infection in high seroprevalence populations. Despite the current research knowledge base, implementation of effective prevention programs in many countries is nonexistent to incomplete. Conclusion. The most important barrier to reducing HIV transmission among drug injectors is not a lack of knowledge but the failure to implement effective prevention programs in many parts of the world.",
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