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CTN Research Brief: HIV Prevention Practices in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Vary Among Clinics

January 3, 2015
Spector, AY & Remien, RH
Spector AY, Remien RH. Delivery of Behavioral HIV Prevention Services in New York City Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment Clinics: Providers’ Perspectives on Opportunities and Challenges. AIDS Education and Prevention 2015;27(1):1-14.
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The association between sexual HIV risk and substance use is well documented, making it logical for providers of substance use disorder treatment to address HIV education and prevention with their clients.

This study used the CTN as a platform to identify providers’ HIV prevention practices, as well as barriers and promoters to offering HIV prevention in substance use disorder treatment. One director, one medical provider, and four counselors from each of six outpatient clinics affiliated with the CTN were interviewed.

Providers’ prevention practices included: recommending condoms, explaining how HIV is transmitted, HIV testing, and risk assessment. However, while some providers routinely recommended condoms and HIV testing, many avoided discussing HIV at all.

Barriers cited included: believing that clients already knew enough about HIV, believing clients were not at risk for infection, lacking information, outdated training, HIV stigma, and general avoidance.

Conclusions: HIV prevention practices in substance use treatment vary among clinics and providers. These results suggest a need for training to improve understanding of HIV transmission, effective counseling practices, and to build capacity for HIV testing or linkages with HIV service agencies.

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