$431,119: NIH Funds HIV Intervention Among Heroin, Crack Users on US-Mexico Border

By Melanie Arter | August 7, 2018 | 3:48 PM EDT

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(CNSNews.com) – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded Lehigh University $431,119 in taxpayer funds for HIV intervention among heroin and crack users along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The project is a collaboration between the University of Texas at El Paso, The Alliance for Border Collaborative and Program Comparers “to adapt, implement, and evaluate a multi-level, community-based, HIV prevention intervention (Project Encuentro).”

“The intervention was developed in an area severely affected by violence and stigma towards drug users, El Salvador, which makes it particularly suitable for adaptation to meet the needs of drug users living in the proposed intervention site, the U.S.-Mexico border,” the grant abstract stated.

According to the grant, “the proposed intervention site also has been severely affected by violence, which has curtailed any prior attempts” to reduce drug addicts’ HIV risk.

“Violence has worsened structural factors which affect HIV risk such as, increasing police persecution and stigma and reducing access to resources. In our proposed project, we will engage in formative research to understand the context of HIV risk of drug users in the border region post violence and adapt the intervention accordingly,” it stated.

Researchers will conduct “parallel research on the effectiveness of interventions shown to be effective in Latino drug users in two very different contexts: El Salvador and the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The findings of the study will allow researchers to “tailor intervention components to meet the needs of drug users in the region.”

The project start date is listed as April 5, 2016, and it ends on Jan. 31, 2021. Funding began on Feb. 1, 2018 and ends on Jan. 31, 2019.

Attempts to reach project leader Julia Lechuga went unanswered by the time the article was published.

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