What role does the community-based outreach worker play in comprehensive HIV prevention for drug users?
Community-based outreach workers are on the front line in the local community, and they know where, when, and how to contact even the most difficult-to-reach drug users in their neighborhoods. As a trusted and recognized source of information, an outreach worker can help drug users understand their personal risks for HIV and other blood-borne diseases and identify the preventive steps they need to take. As a peer, the indigenous outreach worker can encourage drug users to stop or reduce using and injecting drugs and enter drug abuse treatment. They can provide referrals to drug users for drug-abuse treatment, for testing and counseling for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and for sterile syringe access programs.