The staying safe intervention: Training people who inject drugs in strategies to avoid injection-related HCV and HIV infection

Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, Marya Viorst Gvvadz, Honoria Guarino, Milagros Sandoval, Charles M. Cleland, Ashly Jordan, Holly Hagan, Howard Lune, Samuel R. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This pilot study explores the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the Staying Safe Intervention, an innovative, strengths-based program to facilitate prevention of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus and with the hepatitis C virus among people who inject drugs (PWID). The authors explored changes in the intervention’s two primary endpoints: (a) frequency and amount of drug intake, and (b) frequency of risky injection practices. We also explored changes in hypothesized mediators of intervention efficacy: planning skills, motivation/self-efficacy to inject safely, skills to avoid PWID-associated stigma, social support, drug-related withdrawal symptoms, and injection network size and risk norms. A I-week, five- session intervention (10 hours total) was evaluated using a pre- versus 3-month posttest design. Fifty-one participants completed pre- and posttest assessments. Participants reported significant reductions in drug intake and injection-related risk behavior. Participants also reported significant increases in planning skills, motivation/self-efficacy, and stigma management strategies, while reducing their exposure to drug withdrawal episodes and risky injection networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-157
Number of pages14
JournalAIDS Education and Prevention
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

Cite this