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Am J Community Psychol. 1996 Jun;24(3):341-64.

The long-term outcome of a personal network-oriented HIV prevention intervention for injection drug users: the SAFE Study.

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  • 1Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21205, USA.


Social influence processes have been found to affect numerous drug and health-related behaviors. We postulated that by using a network-oriented intervention it may be possible to capitalize on social influence processes to reduce human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk behaviors. The present study used an experimental study design for delivering a psychoeducational acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) preventive intervention to injection drug sharing networks. Participants were recruited from the ALIVE study, an epidemiological study in Baltimore. In the present paper we examine the self-reported behavioral outcomes of 117 injection drug users 18 months after the baseline interview. HIV seronegative experimental participants reported significantly less frequent needle sharing and less injecting of heroin and cocaine than controls. In multiple logistic regression models of HIV seronegative participants, there was a significant negative association between assignment to the experimental group and the HIV-related behaviors of needle sharing and sharing of cookers in the prior 6 months; controls were 2.8 times more likely than experimentals to report needle sharing and were 2.7 times more likely to report sharing cookers. The results of this 18-month follow-up suggest that among injection drug users network-oriented interventions may be a promising approach to HIV prevention.

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