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The Community Outreach Intervention Projects (“COIP”), School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago was founded in 1986 to address HIV/AIDS, particularly among people who use drugs. COIP operates from storefront sites in Austin, Humboldt Park, West Englewood, South Chicago, and Uptown.  Other neighborhoods are served by COIP’s motorhome and mobile van units. COIP’s interventions are known for their use of the Indigenous Leader Outreach Model, (ILOM) which employs people from the populations we serve to deliver services and assist in conducting research.  In its first deployment in Chicago, the ILOM was associated with a 70% reduction within 18 months in new HIV infections among people who inject drugs in the three areas targeted by this intervention (Wiebel et al 1996).

COIP’s services include street outreach, counseling and testing for HIV, HCV, syphilis and other infectious diseases associated with substance use, case management for people who are HIV or HCV positive, syringe exchange, drug abuse and risk reduction counseling, drug overdose education, support groups, and other educational activities.  COIP also provides referrals to other providers, including drug treatment programs, HCV treatment providers, shelters, food pantries, mental health programs, assistance with entitlements, etc.  Through a collaboration with UIC’s Community Clinic Network, all COIP storefront sites provide free medical, mental health and pharmacy care for people living with HIV.

COIP also conducts research to better understand HIV and HCV in Chicago communities. Recent studies have examined or evaluated the contextual risk factors (risk networks, geography, social norms, and drug use stigma) for hepatitis C among young people who inject drugs; a data-driven agent-based computation model for a population of persons who inject drugs that will enable policy makers to identify effective intervention strategies for eliminating hepatitis C; multiple recruitment strategies in order to identify the optimal, most cost-effective approaches or combination of approaches for recruiting suburban opioid users for research studies on HCV prevention; a culturally relevant, multi-level, integrated, family-based, HIV and mental health prevention program that simultaneously targets African American women and their daughters; an intervention designed to help youth on juvenile probation make healthy choices regarding sexual health and substance use; the feasibility of ecological momentary assessment to study mood and behavior in young people who inject drugs; HIV, HCV, and HBV and their related risk behaviors among people who inject drugs, adult heterosexuals at increased risk of HIV infection, adult men who have sex with men, and high-risk women; and an adherence-enhanced, developmentally appropriate, culturally adapted trauma informed cognitive behavioral intervention (TI-CBTe) on antiretroviral therapy adherence among HIV+ Rwandan youth.

Past research has examined or evaluated an intervention to prevent hepatitis C transmission among young people who inject drugs; mental health problems and their relation to HIV risk behaviors among young people who inject drugs; transitions into drug injection by young people who ‘snort’ heroin; the impact of syringe exchange on preventing HIV infection; early stage hepatitis C infection and treatment; an intervention that engages the parents of young injection drug users to help their children reduce the risk of HIV infection; the sexual transmission of HIV in metropolitan Chicago among and between injection drug users, substance-using men who have sex with men, and the sex partners of both groups; HIV opt-out testing at Cook County Jail; and linkage to medical care for persons recently released from Cook County Jails or the Illinois prison system.

COIP in the News Heading link

Do clean needle exchanges for addicts work? We traveled to find out​

NBC5 St. Louis, Missouri, May17, 2018
NBC5 news St. Louis aired a segment on Missouri’s lack of a legal needle exchange program for injection drug users. As part of the piece, the reporter visited one of the UIC School of Public Health Community Outreach Intervention Projects (COIP) clinics in Humboldt Park. The clinic provides free needles and other materials used by injection drug users, as well as condoms, HIV and hepatitis C testing and counselling and some medical services. The program is one of the largest and oldest of its kind in Chicago. COIP client Mike Zelasko is interviewed as part of the piece. He claims that the COIP program has helped him avoid HIV and hepatitis C by providing clean needles. COIP educator and outreach worker Matta Kelly is also interviewed.