University of Connecticut Professor Awarded for HIV Prevention Method
November 11, 2008
An award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) will help the University of Connecticut's Robert Broadhead expand a successful peer-driven HIV prevention model overseas.
Since the 1990s, the sociology professor has been working on stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS among injecting drug users. He developed a peer-based program in which active IDUs are recruited to educate fellow users about HIV-related risks. Those who choose to participate are offered cash incentives, and some are paid to recruit peers.
A pilot test of the program in Yaroslavl Province, Russia, found a significant reduction in drug injection frequency and sharing of syringes and other equipment among 3,100 participants. In addition, overall HIV knowledge increased among IDUs at the pilot sites.
The NIDA award will fund an overseas expansion of the program for one year. "I'll be returning to Ukraine in December to provide technical assistance to health educators," said Broadhead. Nearly one-third of IDUs in Ukraine are HIV-positive. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria is assisting by funding Broadhead's program at 17 new sites in Ukraine.
"We are still so far behind in combating HIV in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia," said Broadhead. "We are playing a very serious catch-up game."
Broadhead is also working on a manual for implementing the program in areas worldwide. The manual will be available in multiple languages, including Russian, Chinese (Mandarin), Vietnamese, Thai, Spanish, and English.
11.07.2008; Emily Volz, Daily Campus
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.