Preventing HIV infection among injecting drug users: Intuitive and counter-intuitive findings

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The disease now called AIDS was first reported among injecting drug users in 1981. This article reviews the last 15 years of research on preventing HIV infection and AIDS among injecting drug users. Many of the findings were surprising in the context of previous understandings of the illicit injection of psychoactive drugs - both with respect to the much-larger-than-expected size of the epidemic and the much-greater-than-expected potential for behavior change among drug injectors (IDU). The research is reviewed within a framework of eight issues: the importance of the problem in the United States, the global diffusion of injecting drug use, the global diffusion of HIV among IDUs, potential rapid spread of HIV among IDUs, risk reduction among IDUs, community-level prevention, syringe exchange programs, and developing a public-health perspective on psychoactive drug use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Preventive Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1999


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • Injecting drug users
  • Policy
  • Prevention
  • Substance abuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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