Effectiveness of HIV risk reduction initiatives among out-of-treatment non-injection drug users

Linda B. Cottler, Carl Leukefeld, Jeff Hoffman, David Desmond, Wendee Wechsberg, James A. Inciardi, Wilson M. Compton, Arbi Ben Abdallah, Renee Cunningham-Williams, Susan Woodson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


While attention has been paid recently to the effectiveness of HIV/AIDS interventions among injection drug users, less focus has been given to out-of-treatment noninjecting drug users. This study examines the the NIDA Cooperative Agreement standard intervention versus an enhanced intervention for HIV/AIDS risk among noninjecting drug users. Data come from five sites of the NIDA-funded Cooperative Agreement on HIV risk behaviors. The sample is comprised of those who never injected drugs or reported not injecting in the 12 months prior to the interview; and who completed a three-month follow-up assessment. Three risk behaviors in the prior 30 days were analyzed; frequency of crack/cocaine use, number of sex partners, and frequency of condom use. The levels of both baseline and follow-up risk were analyzed. Individuals remaining at low risk or decreasing risk behaviors were classified as “improved.” Those increasing risk behavior or remaining at moderate or high levels were classified as “worsened.” Of the 1,434 noninjecting crack/cocaine users, 82% improved crack/cocaine use at the follow-up. The enhanced intervention group showed more improvement in crack/cocaine use than the standard intervention group. Overall, 76% reported reducing sexual partners, maintaining a one-partner relationship, or abstaining from sex at both time periods. Women in the enhanced intervention group improved more than women in the standard intervention (81% versus 75%). In terms of condom use, more respondents worsened than improved (55% versus 45%). This study confirms that HIV/AIDS interventions can reduce crack/cocaine use; however, high-risk sexual behaviors are more difficult to change. Reasons for this lack of improvement and suggestions for future interventions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)279-290
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
tThis research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, Grants # DA 08324 and DA 00209 at Washington University, DA 08154 at the University of Kentucky, DA 0747 1 at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, DA 08022 at Danya International and DA 08007 at the Research Triangle Institute. Also, the authors wish to acknowledge Kathy Rourke and Darren Nix for their editorial and technical support.


  • Crack/cocaine
  • HIV-risk behaviors
  • Intervention
  • Noninjection drug use
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)


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