Future studies should include HIV testing and measurement of HIV seroconversion to fully elucidate intervention effects.
In the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), the incidence of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnoses continues to remain high, with certain sociodemographic groups experiencing increased rates of HIV compared to the general population.
Substance users in particular are at substantially increased risk of contracting HIV.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that approximately 81% of individuals living with HIV have used illicit substances at least once in their lifetime, with approximately 17% of HIV-positive individuals having used injectable drugs during their lifetime .
Of 1455 studies identified, 19 targeted IDUs (n = 9) and NIDUs (n = 10).
Both IDU and NIDU studies were conducted in substance use treatment centers and included both group (44% vs. 27%) methods; only one NIDU study used a couple-based intervention.A Pub Med literature review (1998–2017), limiting studies to universal HIV prevention interventions targeting adult HIV-negative substance users.Interventions were compared across sample sizes, sociodemographic, intervention setting, study design, use of theoretical models, and intervention effects.Sharing of needles and unprotected sexual contact are two high-risk behaviors that increase HIV transmission among substance users.Most individuals who contract HIV do so through unprotected sex, putting substance users at increased risk due to disinhibition as a result of intoxication, as well as through trading sexual favors for drugs .Given the increased risk of HIV infection in substance users, universal interventions are needed to approach risk reduction.Universal interventions meaning prevention intervention efforts designed to reach the entire population of substance users rather than target specific subgroups of the population and focusing primarily on prevention of those who are not already HIV positive.Though many HIV prevention interventions are evidence-based, more work is needed to examine which of these interventions is the most effective [10, 11].The objective of our current study is to provide a review of behavioral HIV prevention interventions specifically targeted to substance users.Eight studies included start-of-study HIV testing and five examined HIV seroconversion.The interventions reviewed demonstrate promising results for decreasing risky sexual practices for NIDUs and reducing high-risk drug practices for IDUs, thereby reducing HIV transmission risk.