Do community-based strategies reduce HIV risk among people who inject drugs in China? A quasi-experimental study in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces
Springer Science and Business Media LLC -- Harm Reduction Journal
DOI 10.1186/1477-7517-11-15
  1. Social marketing
  2. Drop-in center
  3. Community-based outreach
  4. Behavior change communication (BCC)
  5. People who inject drugs (PWID)
  6. Respondent-driven sampling (RDS)
  7. Needle-syringe exchange program (NSP)
  8. Condom use
  9. HIV testing and counseling (HTC)
  10. Coarsened exact matching (CEM)


HIV transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID) is high in Yunnan and Guangxi provinces in southwest China. To address this epidemic, Population Services International (PSI) and four cooperating agencies implemented a comprehensive harm reduction model delivered through community-based drop-incenters (DiC) and peer-led outreach to reduce HIV risk among PWID.


We used 2012 behavioral survey data to evaluate the effectiveness of this model for achieving changes in HIV risk, including never sharing needles or syringes, always keeping a clean needle on hand, HIV testing and counseling (HTC), and consistent condom use. We used respondent-driven sampling to recruit respondents. We then used coarsened exact matching (CEM) to match respondents during analysis to improve estimation of the effects of exposure to both DiC and outreach, only DiC, and only outreach, modeled using multivariable logistic regression.


We found a significant relationship between participating in both peer-led DiC-based activities and outreach and having a new needle on hand (odds ratio (OR) 1.53, p < .05) and consistent condom use (OR 3.31, p < .001). We also found a significant relationship between exposure to DiC activities and outreach and HIV testing in Kunming (OR 2.92, p < .01) and exposure to peer-led outreach and HIV testing through referrals in Gejiu, Nanning, and Luzhai (OR 3.63, p < .05).


A comprehensive harm reduction model delivered through peer-led and community-based strategies reduced HIV risk among PWID in China. Both DiC activities and outreach were effective in providing PWID behavior change communications (BCC) and HTC. HTC is best offered in settings like DiCs, where there is privacy for testing and receiving results. Outreach coverage was low, especially in Guangxi province where the implementation model required building the technical capacity of government partners and grassroot organizations. Outreach appears to be most effective for referring PWID into HTC, especially when DiC-based HTC is not available and increasing awareness of DiCs where PWID can receive more intensive BCC interventions.