Rapid Identification and Investigation of an HIV Risk Network Among People Who Inject Drugs –Miami, FL, 2018

Hansel Tookes, Tyler S. Bartholomew, Shana Geary, James Matthias, Karalee Poschman, Carina Blackmore, Celeste Philip, Edward Suarez, David W. Forrest, Allan E. Rodriguez, Michael A. Kolber, Felicia Knaul, Leah Colucci, Emma Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Prevention of HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs remains a challenge to ending the HIV epidemic in the United States. The first legal syringe services program (SSP) in Florida implemented routine screening in 2018 leading to the identification of ten anonymous HIV seroconversions. The SSP collaborated with the Department of Health to conduct an epidemiologic investigation. All seven acute HIV seroconversions were linked to care (86% within 30 days) and achieved viral suppression (mean 70 days). Six of the seven individuals are epidemiologically and/or socially linked to at least two other seroconversions. Analysis of the HIV genotypes revealed that two individuals are connected molecularly at 0.5% genetic distance. We identified a risk network with complex transmission dynamics that could not be explained by epidemiological methods or molecular analyses alone. Providing wrap-around services through the SSP, including routine screening, intensive linkage and patient navigation, could be an effective model for achieving viral suppression for people who inject drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-256
Number of pages11
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • HIV
  • Molecular surveillance
  • Outbreak investigation
  • People who inject drugs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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