Study Finds that HIV Prevention Programs for Injection Drug Users Must be Tailored to Local Needs
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have found that the behaviors and the drug-of-choice of injection drug users differ so much from location to location that programs designed to curb the spread of HIV must be tailored to the local conditions to be effective (Theresa Diaz, MD, et.al., "The Types of Drugs Used by HIV-Infected Injection Drug Users in a Multistate Surveillance Project: Implications for Intervention," American Journal of Public Health, Dec. 1994, p. 1971-1975).
The study looked at a sample of 1147 HIV-infected injection drug users in ten locations (data collected in the CDC HIV/AIDS Surveillance Project). 72% of the people surveyed injected a drug other than heroin. Their drug of choice, however, varied greatly from place to place:
|Drug Type (%)|
Further, 75% of subjects reported using more than one type of drug and 85% reported using drugs that were not injected.
The study found that heroin-injecting drug users were 72% more likely to receive treatment than users of other drugs. Thus, the authors write, methadone maintenance programs, while effective for heroin addicts, may not address the problem in a particular locale.
"Such distinctions emphasize the importance of evaluating local drug use patterns for the appropriate planning of drug treatment services to decrease the spread of HIV," the authors write. "These efforts will require increased provision of drug abuse treatment programs that go beyond methadone, address polysubstance abuse, and adapt to local correlates of the primary drug used."