Boston Globe Profiles AIDS Action Committee’s Peer Action Initiative
The Boston Globe yesterday profiled the AIDS Action Committee's Peer Action campaign, in which Boston-area individuals "at greatest risk" for HIV infection are given money to tell others about the organization's services. The program began in May 2000 by recruiting seven people in demographic groups at high risk for HIV infection, such as injection drug users and the homeless. The volunteers were given a questionnaire about their sexual behavior and counseling on safe sex and drug use in order to reduce their risk of infection. The volunteers then were given three coupons to distribute to friends or acquaintances who "might be at risk" for HIV infection. Volunteers received $5 for every contact who brought the coupon back to Peer Action, and $25 if all three contacts came to the organization. The program "seems to have worked," the Globe reports, noting that the program has recruited 1,002 volunteers during its two years of operation. A study of the Peer Action effort slated to be released today also states that condom use has increased "substantially" and rates of sexual activity while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs have fallen "markedly." AIDS Action Committee plans to spend $24,000 this year on the Peer Action campaign, and the model is being shared with other groups. "Twenty-four thousand dollars buys us 500 deputies out there doing this work," AIDS Action Committee Executive Director Michael Duffy said (Smith, Boston Globe, 8/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.