Behavioral Interventions are needed to prevent HIV in substance users, which is associated with higher risk for contracting HIV via unprotected sexual intercourse or syringe-based exposure. We reviewed universal HIV prevention interventions targeting intravenous drug users (IDUs) and non-IDUs (NIDUs) to identify which prevention interventions are the most effective at reducing HIV transmission risk among IDU’s and NIDU’s and identify gaps in the literature.
A PubMed 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.
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. 73%) and individual-based (56% vs. 27%) methods; only one NIDU study used a couple-based intervention. All IDU, and 89% of NIDU, studies used explanatory and behavior-change theoretical models to guide selection of intervention mechanisms. Reduction in frequency of risky sexual behaviors were observed in 33% IDU and 64% NIDU studies, where 56% of IDU studies effectively increased drug use-related hygiene and 67% decreased frequency of injections. 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. Future studies should include HIV testing and measurement of HIV seroconversion to fully elucidate intervention effects.