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February 20, 2009

CDC Highlights Hopkins-led Intervention Trial in Updated Compendium

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2008 Compendium of Evidenced-based HIV Prevention Interventions will include the work of Elizabeth T. Golub, PhD, MPH, principal investigator and assistant scientist with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology. Chosen as one of 36 best evidence-based HIV behavioral interventions, Golub’s Study to Reduce Intravenous Exposures (STRIVE) was designed to eliminate or reduce risky injection practices and the spread of hepatitis C virus (HCV) among HIV-negative injection drug users with HCV.

STRIVE is a group-level peer mentoring intervention carried out over six two- hour group sessions. The intervention encourages participants to set an example for their peers by promoting safer injection practices learned through demonstrations, games, group discussions, skill-building exercises, street outreach activities and videos. In addition, participants are trained to mentor other injection drug users and promote risk- reduction behaviors. Researchers found significantly lower levels of injection risk behaviors among intervention participants when compared with those in the video discussion comparison group.

In addition to STRIVE, Golub’s work on the Drug Users Intervention Trial (DUIT)—a peer-education intervention designed to reduce injection and sexual risk behaviors for HIV and HCV infection in young injection drug users—was outlined as a promising evidence-based intervention in the CDC Compendium.

“HCV is highly transmissible among injection drug users, and involves many of the same risk behaviors as HIV ” said Golub. “Targeted educational outreach such as STRIVE and DUIT among young people and newly initiated injectors is key for preventing further transmission of infection. I am extremely grateful to my colleagues for their assistance in developing both programs and furthering our efforts to prevent the spread of HIV and HCV.”

The CDC Compendium analyzes program efficiency of HIV prevention interventions and updates the report annually. Programs are divided into two categories, best-evidence and promising-evidence interventions, and must be scientifically proven to reduce HIV-or STD-related risk behaviors, or to promote safer behaviors. The 2008 Compendium includes studies published between 1988 and May 2008, and is designed to provide local and state HIV prevention programs with the most up-to-date intervention studies. --Natalie Wood-Wright