Drug users have a high risk of HIV infection. Because certain neighborhoods have higher levels of substance abuse, HIV risk becomes related to geography as well. Thus, there is need for local street outreach programs, such as Safety Counts.
Targeted Risk Group:
Injection drug users, crack cocaine users
Links to Interventions, Training Manuals, etc. :
In a quasi experimental, cross-over design, two Los Angeles neighborhoods were randomly assigned to receive either (1) Voluntary HIV Counseling and Testing (VCT) or (2) Safety Counts. In Phase 1, injection drug users and crack users in these neighborhoods attended the respective intervention. In Phase 2, each neighborhood and therefore its participants received the alternative intervention. Participants were reassessed at 5–9 months. Data collected included demographics, sexual risk behavior, and substance abuse.The Safety Counts intervention differed from the VCT intervention in that Safety Counts offered skill-building and goal-setting workshops, one-on-one counseling sessions to implement goals, street contacts to support other participants, and social events.
Drug users in the Safety Counts program reported significantly greater reductions in risky sex, crack and hard drug use, and risky drug injection. The more sessions of Safety Counts attended, the greater were the reductions in risky acts. Different analytic decisions result in very different findings for the same intervention. Safety Counts is an effective intervention for injection drug users and crack users.