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Intervention Strategies for Injection and Non-Injection Drug Users To Reduce the Risk of HIV and Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Numerous studies have shown that injecting drug users (IDUs) who engage in multiperson sharing of needles and syringes have an increased risk for HIV transmission. Drug-related risk behaviors, including exchange of sex for drugs or money, have also been independently associated with HIV infection.

Injection-related risk behaviors account for the majority of new HIV infections in many parts of the world, including Eastern Europe, Russia, and Southeast Asia. Rapid HIV transmission among populations and social groups associated with injection drug use in low prevalence settings is leading to new epidemics in many countries.

Research has shown that substance abuse treatment programs, which aim to reduce the frequency of drug use, have made a positive impact on reducing drug-related risk behaviors and subsequent HIV exposure. Risk reduction among active drug users has also been accomplished in various settings via community outreach programs and access to sterile injection equipment. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also recently recommended that pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) with daily oral Truvada be considered for HIV-negative people who inject drugs and are at high risk of HIV infection.

Nevertheless, preventing HIV transmission among non-injecting and injecting drug users remains an urgent and expanding public health problem in many regions of the world. The NIAID HIV prevention portfolio includes a number of scientific priorities which address risk reduction for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases among injecting and non-injecting drug users. These priorities include

  • Reducing risk of drug-associated and sexual transmission of HIV among injecting and non-injecting substance users
  • Developing and refining primary and secondary prevention interventions for HIV-infected drug users
  • Developing interventions designed to overcome structural and community-level barriers to accepting and implementing effective HIV prevention strategies

Last Updated January 19, 2016