Koester studies on drug use and disease transmission continue, and help yield needle exchange in Denver
Steve Koester, professor of anthropology and health & behavioral sciences, is a co-investigator on a 5-year NIH study with Yale University looking at the epidemiology of risks for the transmission of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) through unsafe drug injection and methods for reducing transmission. The study builds in part on Koester’s long-term work detailing blood borne transmission risks embedded in the process of drug injection. This interdisciplinary project fuses ethnographic fieldwork with laboratory-based virology to determine the transmission potential of various injection practices.
In addition, Koester is a Co-PI with Stacey McKenna, an HBS doctoral student, on another NIH study examining the drug acquisition strategies of female methamphetamine users. This study builds on McKenna's dissertation, a critical examination of how media portrayals of methamphetamine use are internalized by female methamphetamine users.
Finally, Steve is gratified that 22 years after his first publication calling for syringe exchange in Denver, the city’s first two legally sanctioned exchanges have opened. Among the syringe exchange volunteers are several MA students in anthropology and BA students in public health.