Harm Reduction - HIV in Drug Users

Subject 505-960 (2009)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2009. Search for this in the current handbook

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2009:


For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: A minimum of 24 contact hours, taught in block mode over 5 days.
Total Time Commitment: Students will be expected to undertake additional study (i.e. outside the stated contact hours) of at least two hours for each hour of contact in this subject.
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Ms Andrea Fischer, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health

School of Population Health

Subject Overview:

The course will cover the following topics: overview of illicit drugs and their effects; approaches to illicit drug problems: supply, demand and harm reduction; harm reduction overview; needle and syringe programs; peer education; drug substitution therapy; outreach; advocacy for effective harm reduction; rapid assessment and response; an emphasis on Australia, Asian and developing country context. There will be site visits to demonstrate harm reduction in action.


On completion of this subject, students will be able to:

  • explain the interactions between illicit drug use and blood-borne viruses;
  • outline the epidemiology of HIV, hepatitis C and hepatitis B with particular reference to injecting drug use;
  • describe the major elements of harm reduction practice employed in Australia, in our region, and worldwide;
  • understand the social and policy contexts of harm reduction practice employed in Australia and Asia;
  • carry out a rapid situation assessment of drug use and HIV risk;
  • design a package of harm reduction measures tailored to a particular regional epidemic; and
  • critique the various responses to HIV and other BBVs among drug users concurrently in operation.

One short critique of current journal article to be submitted in a fortnight after last teaching day (15%), one 1-hour exam on last teaching day (20%), one 3,000-word essay (60%) individual and group participation (5%).

Prescribed Texts: A folder of readings will be available prior to the subject commencing.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Links to further information: http://www.sph.unimelb.edu.au

This subject is a Group 1 elective in the Master of Public Health.


Related Course(s): Master of Public Health

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