Values and identity: The meaning of work for injection drug users involved in volunteer HIV prevention outreach

Julia B. Dickson-Gómez, Amy Knowlton, Carl Latkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Most HIV behavioral interventions provide participants with preventive information emphasizing how not to behave, and have neglected to provide attractive and feasible alternatives to risky behavior. Interventions that emphasize cultural strengths may have more powerful effects and may help remove the stigma of HIV, which has hampered prevention efforts among African American communities. Starting in 1997, the SHIELD (Self-Help in Eliminating Life-Threatening Diseases) intervention trained injection drug users (N = 250) to conduct risk reduction outreach education among their peers. Many participants saw their outreach as "work," which gave them a sense of meaning and purpose and motivated them to make other positive changes in their lives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1259-1286
Number of pages28
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number8
StatePublished - Sep 14 2004



  • Drug subculture
  • Outreach
  • Risk behavior
  • Risk reduction
  • Work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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