This World AIDS Day, Finding Inspiration at the Intersection of HIV and Substance Use

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Dr. Hansel Tookes embraces IDEA participant Melissa.
Image Courtesy NIDA/ Sonya Revell, Photographer

Today marks the 33rd  World AIDS Day. As we work to address the structural and social challenges that prevent many people from accessing both essential HIV services and addiction treatment, the HIV and addiction fields can learn from one another. Researchers, clinicians, and activists living and working at the intersection of HIV and substance use can shed light on reaching the most vulnerable groups with tailored, compassionate and quality care. This is crucial in ensuring that our national HIV response encompasses interventions that address the complex interactions between substance misuse and HIV.

One such group is the IDEA Exchange in Miami, Fla., a comprehensive syringe services program where Dr. Hansel E. Tookes, III, and his team work to deliver integrated HIV and harm reduction services to people who use drugs and those in recovery, and learn from research projects how to optimize care to achieve the best outcomes. Dr. Tookes is a 2021 recipient of NIDA’s HIV/AIDS Research Avenir Award for a new project designed to leverage telehealth-enhanced services to engage people who use drugs into HIV care in a city with the highest rate of new HIV cases in the country. This World AIDS Day, NIDA presents “At the Intersection: Stories of Research, Compassion, and HIV Services for People Who Use Drugs,” a web video series in which IDEA’s participants, peers, and clinicians relate their lifesaving approach to addressing the intertwined epidemics of HIV, overdose, and addiction.

Watch the new series below:

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director

Here I highlight important work being done at NIDA and other news related to the science of drug use and addiction.

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