176120 HIV prevention service encounters and changes in needle sharing activity among Latino injection drug users: The case of La Voz (The Voice)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Lena Lundgren, PhD , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Therese Fitzgerald, PhD, MSW, LCSW , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Angela W. Walter, MSW , School of Social Work, Boston University, Boston, MA
Nellie Kuilan , Tapestry Health, Springfield, MA
Existing HIV prevention research suggests that specific types of HIV prevention and outreach services are associated with reduced needle-sharing activity among injection drug users (IDUs). This study expands on this research by conducting a detailed examination of all HIV prevention services received by a sample of 223 Latino IDUs who shared needles/“works” at base-line. Through regression modeling, the study explored the relationship between the total number of HIV prevention service encounters received and changes in needle-sharing activity over a six-month time period. Services were delivered at La Voz, a Massachusetts, community-based HIV/AIDS prevention, education, and treatment program serving Latinos, many of whom migrated to the U.S. from Puerto Rico.

Statistical analysis was conducted controlling for factors known to be significantly associated with needle sharing including, age, gender, ethnicity, criminal justice involvement, HIV status, prescribed medications for mental health symptoms, and days used illegal drugs in the past 30 days. Logistic regression analysis indicated that IDUs with more than seven encounters (the mean) were 51% less likely to share needles and/or “works” at 6-month follow-up than those who received seven or fewer encounters (p<.05). The study also identified that being prescribed psychiatric medications and having committed a crime in the past 30 days were significantly associated with still sharing needles at follow-up.

Given these findings, public health policymakers should consider targeting resources to more comprehensive HIV-prevention efforts with IDUs. Also, HIV prevention and outreach efforts need to expand to better serve IDUs with co-morbid psychiatric problems and criminal justice involvement.

Learning Objectives:
1)Participants will learn about the importance of ongoing service contacts in reducing HIV risks among injection drug users (IDUs). 2)Participants will learn how HIV prevention organizations can engage and assist IDUs, a hard-to-reach population that these organizations often struggle to recruit and retain. 3)Participants will learn how to engage in research that acknowledges and explores the multiplicity of services received by those clients targeted by HIV outreach-prevention efforts.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principle investigator on this project. I am responsible for evaluating the La Voz program, data collection and analysis of these findings.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.