Project Access

NOTE: This study has ended.

Project Description

Project Access is a qualitative needs assessment commissioned by the California State Office of AIDS (OA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to examine counseling and testing (C&T) utilization and prevention programs through the perspective of drug-using clients in three Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo.

Project goals are:

  • to investigate the HIV C&T utilization and prevention strategies of heterosexual drug users in three counties in Northern California, and
  • to enhance access to and delivery of HIV prevention and intervention services to heterosexual drug users.

Qualitative Interviews

Clients utilizing services in these three counties are recruited through local outreach activities. The demographic characteristics of study participants recruited in 1998 for these three counties are: 53% African American, 23% White, 8% Latino and 17% Mixed or Other. Since 1997, 187 qualitative interviews have been conducted with IDUs, crack cocaine users, and other illicit drug users.

Interviews and instruments are designed to assess:

  • the behavioral, psychosocial and social risk factors that influence high-risk drug users decisions to test for HIV,
  • the service delivery factors that influence high-risk drug users’ decision to test for HIV;
  • how high-risk drug users employ HIV testing in personal prevention strategies;
  • and how knowledge of HIV test results affects risk behavior.

See the complete Qualitative Interview Instrument.

The Project Access team also conducted a neighborhood ethnography of drug users in West Oakland, CA. This information will focus on assessing the unique cultural and material factors that contribute to the higher rates of HIV infection among African American drug users.

Project Findings

Preliminary results from these data include information on drug users’ barriers to C&T and information pertaining to drug users’ C&T experiences, including issues such as access, motivation to test, and confidentiality. Pilot results have been distributed among Bay Area providers.

Technical Assistance

The Project Access team has provided a variety of technical assistance to county and state officials concerned with HIV C&T. The goal of the technical assistance component is to improve high-risk heterosexual drug users’ access to C&T and other HIV-related services. Throughout the project, the team has organized and facilitated topic roundtables for county service providers, outreach workers, and HIV coordinators; facilitated meetings between county and state officials; worked with HIV Coordinators at monthly meetings to problem solve and strategize C&T services; and disseminated pilot project findings to interested county providers in Sacramento and Fresno.


Staff perform a variety of functions as researchers, interviewers, analysts and administrators. Meet the Project Access staff.

Posted 5/99. Updated 9/99.

Last modified: October 22, 2012