Lowering the Threshold: A Comparative Overview of AIDS Prevention Among Injecting Drug Users Using Outreach Technology
This paper provides an overview of AIDS prevention among drug users in the European and American context. The most recent epidemiological data in Europe and America indicate that drug users are the group greatest at risk to contract the HIV virus. Accumulating evidence shows that spread if HIV virus is associated with specific socio-ecological units such as neighbourhoods and social networks. These data support the idea that the prevention of the spread of the HIV in the drug users population should be focussed on specific geographical areas and on social networks. Outreach technology has been developed involving the use of indigenous drug users working in their own neighbourhoods and within their own networks together with professional health promotion workers. The technology of outreach is also associated with the concept of self organization drawn from the ecological sciences. This technology aims at lowering the threshold between relevant services and information and the drug user population. To illustrate this approach data is presented from the ‘Boule de Neige’ intervention project in the Euro-region of Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and the Chicago Outreach Intervention Project.
KeywordsDrug User Inject Drug User Methadone Maintenance Treatment Drug Policy Needle Exchange
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