NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE POLICY ON COUNSELING AND TESTING FOR HIV/AIDS 
AND OTHER INFECTIOUS DISEASES

Release Date:  January 4, 2001

NOTICE:  NOT-DA-01-001

National Institute on Drug Abuse
 (http://www.nih.gov)

PURPOSE

In 1995, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) established a 
policy intended to reduce drug abuse-related transmission of HIV in its 
study populations.  The policy encouraged NIDA-funded researchers to 
make HIV-risk reduction counseling and testing available to subjects at 
high risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV.  In recognition of 
concerns about other infectious agents and their linkages with both 
drug abuse and HIV, this Notice revises the 1995 policy (available at 
http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not95-154.html) to 
include hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), tuberculosis, sexually 
transmitted diseases (STDs), and other infectious agents in addition to 
HIV.  NIDA’s policy is that NIDA-funded researchers are strongly 
encouraged to provide and/or refer research subjects to HIV risk 
reduction counseling and testing, treatment, and other appropriate 
interventions, as needed, to prevent acquisition and transmission of 
infectious agents.  

A number of blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections (e.g., HBV, 
HCV, and both ulcerative and nonulcerative STDs) continue to cause 
major health problems among injecting and noninjecting drug users and 
their sex partners in the United States and internationally. The 
infants and children of drug users and their sex partners are also at 
high risk of exposure to these agents through vertical transmission 
from an infected mother, with consequent development of disease. Air-
borne transmission of tuberculosis, including multiple-drug resistant 
strains, has also increased among drug abusers and their sex partners, 
posing a significant threat to public health. However, a variety of 
scientifically-based approaches, including testing and counseling, 
behavioral interventions, and disease and drug addiction treatment, are 
now available to facilitate risk reduction, behavior change, and health 
among drug users and their sexual partners and families.

As a public health research institute, NIDA believes that researchers 
share the responsibility for preventing the acquisition and 
transmission of drug abuse-related  diseases and helping individuals to 
find treatment for drug abuse and its comorbid conditions.  Researchers 
funded by NIDA to conduct research in community outreach settings, 
clinics, hospitals, drug treatment programs, or other clinical settings 
and who have contact with clients at risk for acquisition or 
transmission of HIV and other blood-borne and sexually transmitted 
infections are strongly encouraged to provide education, counseling, 
and information on how to obtain treatment to those clients.  Education 
and counseling to clients at risk should include offering testing for 
HIV, HBV, and HCV, and screening for STDs, if these services are 
available on site.  Referrals to testing, screening, and treatment 
services should be offered if they are not available at the on-site 
location.

In general, the opportunity to offer education and counseling will 
occur in any clinical or laboratory study that provides diagnostic, 
treatment, or other health or social services to participants over a 
period of time.  Easy-to-read materials on drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, and 
other comorbid and infectious conditions should also be available to 
study participants in such research settings as surveys and studies 
where investigator-subject contacts occur only once and are brief.  

Counseling materials developed by NIDA (www.nida.nih.gov) and materials 
developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  
(www.cdc.gov) are available for use  by interested parties, grantees, 
and contractors.  Appropriate educational materials (manuals, 
brochures, and posters) may also be obtained by calling or writing the 
National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (1-800-729-
6686) and the CDC’s National Prevention Information Network (1-800-458-
5231).

For additional information on this policy, contact

Henry L. Francis, M.D. or Elizabeth Y. Lambert, M.Sc.
Center on AIDS and Other Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse
6001 Executive Blvd.
Room 5198 MSC 9593
Bethesda, MD 20892
Telephone: (301) 443-2104 or (301) 402-1933
E-mail: hfrancis@nida.nih.gov or elambert@nida.nih.gov


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