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Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

A novel, bottom-up approach to promote evidence-based HIV prevention for people who inject drugs in Ukraine: protocol for the MICT (‘Bridge’) HIV prevention exchange project

Jill Owczarzak1*, Olga Filippova2 and Sarah D Phillips3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Hampton House Room 739, Baltimore 21205-1996, Maryland

2 Department of Sociology, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University, 6, Svobody Sq. Office 351, Kharkiv 61000, Ukraine

3 Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Student Building 130, 701 E. Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-7100, USA

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Implementation Science 2014, 9:18  doi:10.1186/1748-5908-9-18

Published: 4 February 2014



Ukraine has one of the most severe HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe, with an estimated 1.6% of the adult population living with the virus. Injection drug use accounts for 36% of new HIV cases. Nongovernmental organizations in Ukraine have little experience with effective, theory-based behavioral risk reduction interventions necessary to reduce the scope of the HIV epidemic among Ukrainians who inject drugs. This study seeks to promote the use of evidence-based HIV prevention strategies among Ukrainian organizations working with drug users.


This study combines qualitative and quantitative methods to explore a model of HIV prevention intervention development and implementation that disseminates common factors of effective behavioral risk reduction interventions and enables service providers to develop programs that reflect their specific organizational contexts. Eight agencies, located in regions of Ukraine with the highest HIV and drug use rates and selected to represent key organizational context criteria (e.g., agency size, target population, experience with HIV prevention), will be taught common factors as the basis for intervention development. We will use qualitative methods, including interviews and observations, to document the process of intervention development and implementation at each agency. Using risk assessments with intervention participants, we will also assess intervention effectiveness.

The primary outcome analyses will determine the extent to which agencies develop and implement an intervention for drug users that incorporates common factors of effective behavioral interventions. Effectiveness analyses will be conducted, and effect size of each intervention will be compared to that of published HIV prevention interventions for drug users with demonstrated effectiveness. This study will explore the role of organizational context on intervention development and implementation, including resource allocation decisions, problem-solving around intervention development, and barriers and facilitators to inclusion of common factors and delivery of a high quality intervention.


This innovative approach to HIV prevention science dissemination and intervention development draws on providers’ ability to quickly develop innovative programs and reach populations in greatest need of services. It has the potential to enhance providers’ ability to use HIV prevention science to develop sustainable interventions in response to a rapidly changing epidemic.

HIV prevention; People who inject drugs; Capacity-building; Nongovernmental organizations; Ukraine; Evidence-based interventions; Implementation