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1.  The Feasibility of Interventions to Reduce HIV Risk and Drug Use among Heterosexual Methamphetamine Users 
Journal of AIDS & clinical research  2012;Suppl 1(10):6953.
This paper reports on a feasibility study that examined contingency management among out-of-treatment, heterosexual methamphetamine users and the reduction of drug use and HIV risk. Fifty-eight meth users were recruited through street outreach in Denver from November 2006 through March 2007. The low sample size reflects that this was a pilot study to see if CM is feasible in an out-of-treatment, street-recruited population of meth users. Secondary aims were to examine if reductions and drug use and risk behavior could be found. Subjects were randomly assigned to contingency management (CM) or CM plus strengths-based case management (CM/SBCM), with follow-up at 4 and 8 months. Participants were primarily White (90%), 52% male and averaged 38 years old. Eighty-three percent attended at least one CM session, with 29% attending at least fifteen. All participants reduced meth use significantly at follow-up. Those who attended more sessions submitted more stimulant-free urines than those who attended fewer sessions. Participants assigned to CM/SBCM attended more sessions and earned more vouchers than clients in CM. Similarly, participants reported reduced needle-sharing and sex risk. Findings demonstrate that CM and SBCM may help meth users reduce drug use and HIV risk.
PMCID: PMC3595065  PMID: 23493796
Methamphetamine; HIV risks; Sex; Contingency management; Strengths-based case management
2.  The Effects of Methadone and Buprenorphine on Testis of Rats 
PMCID: PMC4070120  PMID: 24971251
Buprenorphine; Methadone; Testis
3.  Gender and risk behaviors for HIV and sexually transmitted infections among recently released inmates: A prospective cohort study 
AIDS care  2013;26(7):872-881.
Women in prison have a higher prevalence of HIV than men. After release from prison, former inmates have the opportunity to engage in risk behaviors for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). We sought to assess change in risk behaviors over time and the association of gender with risk behavior in the post-release period. In this prospective cohort study, we interviewed 200 former inmates (51 women) approximately 2 weeks (baseline) and 3 months (follow-up) after release and tested them for HIV infection at follow-up. We examined the association of gender with unprotected vaginal or anal sex in the last seven days using chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests and multivariable logistic regression. At baseline, 22% of men and 41% of women reported unprotected vaginal sex (p<0.01) and 5% of men and 8% of women reported unprotected anal sex (p=0.51). Being younger (OR for each decade increase 0.48, 95% CI 0.29-0.80), being gay/lesbian or being bisexual (compared with being heterosexual, OR=4.74 95% CI 1.01–22.17, OR=3.98, 95% CI 1.41–11.26, respectively), or reporting a drug of choice of heroin/speedballs or cocaine/crack (compared with marijuana/no drug of choice, OR=24.00, 95% CI 5.15–111.81 and OR=3.49, 95% CI 1.20–10.18, respectively) were associated with unprotected vaginal or anal sex after adjusting for race, homelessness, and hazardous drinking. At follow-up, 21% of men and 44% of women reported unprotected sex (p=0.005), and female gender (OR=4.42, 95% CI 1.79–10.94) and hazardous drinking (compared with not meeting criteria for hazardous drinking, OR=3.64, 95% CI 1.34–9.86) were associated with unprotected sex, adjusting for race and homelessness. In this population with a high prevalence of HIV, we demonstrated persistent engagement in sexual risk behavior during the post-release period. Enhanced efforts to promote sexual health and reduced risk behavior among both male and female current and former prison inmates are needed, including improved access to preventive care and HIV and STI screening, testing and treatment.
PMCID: PMC3989499  PMID: 24266415
HIV; prisoners; gender; drug use; women’s health; epidemiology; sexually transmitted infections
4.  Predictors of Methamphetamine Injection in Out-of-Treatment IDUs 
Substance use & misuse  2009;44(3):332-342.
From 2004-2006, 439 injection drug users were recruited in Denver, Colorado, to participate in a study of drug use and HCV risk. Over two-thirds were male, more than half were white, and 28% were methamphetamine injectors. The Risk Behavior Assessment, which assesses demographics, drug use, and HIV risk behaviors, was used. Variables were assessed for association with methamphetamine (MA) injection. A logistic regression model was built using forward stepwise method to determine independent associations between variables of interest and MA injection. The study's limitations are noted, and implications are described.
PMCID: PMC2758071  PMID: 19212925
methamphetamine; HIV risk; Hepatitis C; drug injection; peer education
5.  Law Enforcement Practices Associated with HIV Infection Among Injection Drug Users in Odessa, Ukraine 
AIDS and behavior  2013;17(8):2604-2614.
Despite HIV prevention efforts over the past 10 years in Odessa, Ukraine, HIV rates among injection drug users (IDUs) remain high. We explored whether IDUs’ experiences with the police and court system in Odessa were associated with HIV serostatus, after controlling for other factors. Qualitative methods, including semi-structured interviews with the police and members of court (N = 19), and focus groups with IDUs (N = 42), were employed to aid in developing a survey instrument for a larger quantitative phase and to assist in interpreting the findings from the quantitative phase, which included 200 participants who were interviewed and tested for HIV. Overall, 55 % tested positive for HIV. Negative experiences with the police were noted by 86 % and included having preloaded syringes taken (66 %), rushed injections due to fear of the police (57 %), police planting drugs (18 %), paying police to avoid arrest (61 %) and threatened by the police to inform on other IDUs (23 %). HIV positive participants were more likely than those who were negative to report these experiences. In a multiple logistic regression, the most significant correlate of HIV infection was rushed injections due to fear of the police. Police actions in Odessa may be contributing to the continued escalation of HIV among IDUs, underscoring the need for structural interventions.
PMCID: PMC3787985  PMID: 23754613
Injection drug user (IDU); Law enforcement; Ukraine
6.  Skin and needle hygiene intervention for injection drug users: Results from a randomized, controlled Stage I pilot trial 
A new skin and needle hygiene intervention, designed to reduce high-risk injection practices associated with bacterial and viral infections, was tested in a pilot, randomized controlled trial. Participants included 48 active heroin injectors recruited through street outreach and randomized to either the two-session intervention or an assessment-only condition (AO) and followed for six months. The primary outcome was skin and needle cleaning behavioral skills measured by videotaped demonstration. Secondary outcomes were high-risk injection practices, intramuscular injection, and bacterial infections. Intervention participants had greater improvements on the skin (d = 1.00) and needle cleaning demonstrations (d = .52) and larger reductions in high-risk injection practices (d = .32) and intramuscular injection (d = .29), with a lower incidence rate of bacterial infections (HR = .80), at 6-months compared to AO. The new intervention appears feasible and promising as a brief intervention to reduce bacterial and viral risks associated with drug injection.
PMCID: PMC3358564  PMID: 22341554
injection drug use; bacterial infections; intervention; randomized controlled trial; risk reduction; heroin
7.  Return to drug use and overdose after release from prison: a qualitative study of risk and protective factors 
Former inmates are at high risk for death from drug overdose, especially in the immediate post-release period. The purpose of the study is to understand the drug use experiences, perceptions of overdose risk, and experiences with overdose among former prisoners.
This qualitative study included former prison inmates (N = 29) who were recruited within two months after their release. Interviewers conducted in-person, semi-structured interviews which explored participants' experiences and perceptions. Transcripts were analyzed utilizing a team-based method of inductive analysis.
The following themes emerged: 1) Relapse to drugs and alcohol occurred in a context of poor social support, medical co-morbidity and inadequate economic resources; 2) former inmates experienced ubiquitous exposure to drugs in their living environments; 3) intentional overdose was considered "a way out" given situational stressors, and accidental overdose was perceived as related to decreased tolerance; and 4) protective factors included structured drug treatment programs, spirituality/religion, community-based resources (including self-help groups), and family.
Former inmates return to environments that strongly trigger relapse to drug use and put them at risk for overdose. Interventions to prevent overdose after release from prison may benefit from including structured treatment with gradual transition to the community, enhanced protective factors, and reductions of environmental triggers to use drugs.
PMCID: PMC3414824  PMID: 22966409
Drug use; Overdose; Prisoners; Relapse; Prison re-entry
8.  The effect of methadone maintenance on positive outcomes for opiate injection drug users 
This study examined outcome variables for 160 opiate injection drug users (IDUs) who entered methadone maintenance between baseline and 6 month follow-up. Outcome variables of interest included drug use, productivity and HIV risk behaviors. Participants were recruited through street outreach in Denver, Colorado from 2000 through 2004 using targeted sampling. The sample was primarily male, 48% White, averaged 39 years of age and had been injecting drugs for an average of nearly 20 years. Significant improvements were found in univariate tests. Logistic regression revealed that spending more time in treatment was a significant predictor of positive outcomes on drug use and HIV risk behaviors. The results underscore the importance of retaining IDUs in methadone maintenance in order to maximize their treatment success. Results from this study show that time in treatment can affect many aspects of the participant’s life in a positive way, including reduction of HIV risk.
PMCID: PMC2741097  PMID: 19150202

Results 1-8 (8)