Hiv infection among people who inject drugs: The challenge of racial/ethnic disparities

Don C Des Jarlais, Dennis McCarty, William A. Vega, Heidi Bramson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection, with minority groups typically having higher rates of infection, are a formidable public health challenge. In the United States, among both men and women who inject drugs, HIV infection rates are elevated among Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks. A meta-analysis of international research concluded that among persons who inject drugs, racial and ethnic minorities were twice as likely to acquire an HIV infection, though there was great variation across the individual studies. To examine strategies to reduce racial/ ethnic disparities among persons who inject drugs, we reviewed studies on injection drug use and its role in HIV transmission. We identified four sets of evidence-based interventions that may reduce racial/ethnic disparities among persons who inject drugs: HIV counseling and testing, risk reduction services, access to antiretroviral therapy, and drug abuse treatment. Implementation of these services, however, is insufficient in many countries, including the United States. Persons who inject drugs appear to be changing drug use norms and rituals to reduce their risks. The challenges are to (a) develop a validated model of how racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection arise, persist, and are reduced or eliminated over time and (b) implement evidence-based services on a sufficient scale to eliminate HIV transmission among all persons who inject drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-285
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume68
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Infection
Pharmaceutical Preparations
HIV Infections
HIV
Ceremonial Behavior
Minority Groups
Drugs
Risk Reduction Behavior
Hispanic Americans
AIDS/HIV
Substance-Related Disorders
Meta-Analysis
Counseling
Public Health
Person
Injections
Therapeutics
Research

Keywords

  • Health disparities
  • HIV
  • Injection drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Hiv infection among people who inject drugs : The challenge of racial/ethnic disparities. / Jarlais, Don C Des; McCarty, Dennis; Vega, William A.; Bramson, Heidi.

In: American Psychologist, Vol. 68, No. 4, 2013, p. 274-285.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jarlais, Don C Des ; McCarty, Dennis ; Vega, William A. ; Bramson, Heidi. / Hiv infection among people who inject drugs : The challenge of racial/ethnic disparities. In: American Psychologist. 2013 ; Vol. 68, No. 4. pp. 274-285.
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