Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Next Frontier in HIV Prevention

via Gay City News

In the field of harm reduction, we are currently engaged in two major initiatives, one a big success, the other a huge failure. The success is needle exchange, which has managed to reduce HIV transmission by as much as 80 percent in targeted urban areas.

The failure is in the application of harm reduction to sexual transmission of the virus, currently characterized by sharp increases in various populations, especially urban teenage African-American and Hispanic men who have sex with men (MSM).

The obvious question, which I pondered in an earlier Gay City News perspective piece, "The Success and Limits of Harm Reduction" (February 14-20, 2008), is how do we find a means of harm reduction for sexual transmission that will have the success of needle exchanges? In the absence of such an alternative, the piece concluded, we have little choice but to redouble the painstaking work of harm reduction, utilizing the methods we have, which still help countless individuals, even as the overall rates of transmission show increases. In the absence of an outright innovation, we must work at better and more intensive targeting of individuals, enclaves, communities, and communication technologies, especially the Internet, for safer-sex education and promotion.

Read the rest of this article here.

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