Paula Lum

Prevention Strategies of HIV Positive Injection Drug Users (VENUS Study)

New HIV infections are decreasing among IDUs. This decrease has been related to the practice of injection risk reduction among IDUs such as the use of needle exchange programs where available. However, recent research has found that sexual risk behavior among IDUs may account for more new HIV infections than injection practices.2 We need to know more about the sexual practices of IDUs. To date, most HIV prevention efforts have focused on how HIV negative people can stay negative.

UFO Presents! A viral hepatitis prevention and education program for young adult IDUs

Young injection drug users (IDU) are at high risk for viral infections, such as HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV), and hepatitis B virus (HBV), due to frequent injecting, needle/syringe and other drug preparation equipment sharing, high numbers of sexual partners, and exchange of sex for money or drugs. Street youth who inject have high unemployment, poor education, and mental health issues. In San Francisco, young IDU are typically homeless runaways who often are involved in an illegal street economy, including prostitution, drug sales, theft, panhandling, pornography and selling stolen property.

UFO Presents!

UFO Presents! is a CDC-funded program aimed at the meeting the broader needs of youth and young adults with injection risk. We will provide hepatitis prevention and care education, and develop and implement programmatic materials for hepatitis C virus (HCV) counseling and education.

The Acute UFO Study: Acute HCV Infection in Young Injectors

Young injection drug users (IDU) constitute a distinctive high risk and understudied group with high rates of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The Acute UFO study has identified 135 incident HCV infections, 95 of which are being followed prospectively. In this study we are: Studying the epidemiology of acute HCV infection. Assessing immunological responses to acute HCV (the spectrum of cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) responses and evolution within CTL targets (“epitopes”) to identify early correlates of viral resolution.