Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Individualized Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Health Promotion, Anthropology

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Chair

Ann K. Sondag

Commitee Members

Laura Dybdal, Roberta Evans, Kimber Haddix-McKay, Gregory Campbell


HIV, HIV/AIDS, Montana, Needs Assessment, Case Study, Injection Drug Use


University of Montana


The purpose of this study was to assess HIV prevention needs of individuals living in Montana who use injection drugs (IDUs). Gaps between prevention needs and services were identified and recommendations for overcoming the barriers to accessing and implementing treatment needs and services were offered.
A qualitative case study approach was used. Data collection methods included: 1) IDU interviews, 2) Key Informant interviews, and 3) Documentation collection and archival record retrieval.
IDUs represented a wide range of demographic variables. While people of both genders, a variety of sexual orientations, ethnicities, educational levels, incomes and employment statuses participated in the interviews, none of these variables appeared to be a distinct indicator of increased HIV infection risk. Factors indicative of higher risk for infection included family dynamics, identifying with being a parent and having a purpose in life, social networks, and the type of drug used. HIV prevention needs included substance abuse treatment; harm reduction services (clean syringes, educational outreach, free HIV and Hepatitis C testing, and social service organizations); and HIV prevention messages. Barriers to accessing and implementing services included lack of funding; prohibition or discouragement of services by state and federal laws; stigma and discrimination; and lack of agency networking. Recommendations for closing gaps between needs and services included: Ensure collaboration between agencies and HIV prevention services; Research options and formulate a plan for gaining access to clean syringes; Research options and formulate a plan for substance abuse treatment funding and Hepatitis C services; Ensure continued HIV prevention information dissemination through media campaigns and other educational interventions; and Ensure continued harm reduction services.
This study provides the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) valuable insight concerning HIV prevention needs for IDUs. Determining the needs of IDUs in Montana will ultimately improve the quality and availability of HIV prevention services, which in turn will improve the quality of life for IDUs and decrease or prevent the spread of HIV infection through injection drug use.



© Copyright 2007 Nancy Mae Cunningham