HIV study targets gangs
Street gangs have long been known for bringing illicit drugs, unregistered guns and territorial graffiti to city streets, but an academic researcher says they’re an efficient vector for another social ill: HIV.
A team at the Medical College of Wisconsin has received a $2.1 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study risk factors and potential interventions for gang members who might spread HIV in Milwaukee communities, the Journal Sentinel reported. The primary investigator quoted in the newspaper article, Julia Dickson-gomez, said few studies have examined the fact that gang members are among the highest at-risk groups to contract and spread HIV. In particular, she noted that most youth HIVoutreach efforts take place at school, which many gang members do not attend.
The study also will examine whether certain gang protocols influence HIV risks, including whether the organizations include females and whether the group prohibits the use of certain drugs or condoms. Study participants who complete a 90-minute interview will be paid $30 for their time.
It’s an interesting project, though Outliers can imagine the reactions from some quarters upon hearing that an arm of the National Institutes of Health is paying gang members to talk about their sexual practices.
Wisconsin researchers will be looking into HIV risks among gang members.