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A study of the effectiveness of a designed intervention on HIV testing rates of injecting drug users

Wendy L McCarty, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The primary focus of this study was to find out to what degree an incentive promotion would affect HIV testing rates of injection drug users in Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska. Additionally, the proportion of injection drug users who returned to the testing site to obtain their test results was also examined in order to determine the effectiveness of the incentive promotion. ^ Eight retail pharmacies in Grand Island distributed incentive information to syringe purchasers during the twelve-month information period. Persons obtaining HIV tests and returning for test results were given monetary incentives at the testing site. The number of HIV tests given and the number of HIV test results obtained were compiled for the twelve-month intervention period and compared to the number of HIV tests given and test results obtained during the forty-eight months prior to the initiation of the intervention. ^ The number of injection drug users seeking HIV testing significantly increased during the twelve-month intervention period, when compared to the number of injection drug users seeking HIV testing during the twelve-month period immediately preceding the initiation of the intervention. A significant increase was not seen when comparing the number of injecting drug user HIV tests given during the intervention period to the yearly average number of tests given to this population during the preceding four years. No significant difference was found relative to test return rates. ^ Although the results of this study are mixed, it does add information to the body of evidence that supports the use of incentives in promoting and marketing health behavior changes. This is particularly significant when the intervention attempts to connect with an unusually difficult-to-reach population, such as injection drug users who are at greatly increased risk for HIV and AIDS. The success of interventions such as the subject of this study may result in improved health for injection drug users and their partners by informing them of their HIV status, encouraging them to practice lower risk behaviors where HIV transmission is concerned, and connecting them with HIV and substance abuse treatment services, especially when an HIV-positive test result occurs. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Mental Health|Psychology, Behavioral|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

McCarty, Wendy L, "A study of the effectiveness of a designed intervention on HIV testing rates of injecting drug users" (2003). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3117802.