An invisible barrier to integrating HIV primary care with harm reduction services: Philosophical clashes between the harm reduction and medical models

Daliah Heller, Kate McCoy, Chinazo Cunningham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

21 Scopus citations


Overall AIDS mortality in the United States has declined in recent years, but declines have not been consistent across all populations. Due to an array of barriers to care, minorities and poor people who are active substance users have not benefited as others have from advances in the treatment of HIV disease. One way to address this problem is to integrate HIV primary care into harm reduction programs that already effectively serve this population. Such collaborations, however, are difficult to initiate and sustain. Philosophical differences between the medical model and the harm reduction model, which often remain invisible to the parties involved, underlie these difficulties. This article addresses the issue by describing a partnership in the Bronx, NY, between CitiWide Harm Reduction Inc. (CitiWideHR) and the Montefiore Medical Center. It focuses specifically on the sources of philosophical differences between models, and briefly assesses the potential for successful collaborations of this sort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-39
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2004


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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