Don Des Jarlais

Don Des Jarlais
Don Des Jarlais

Professor of Epidemiology

Professional overview

Dr. Don Des Jarlais is a leader in the fields of AIDS and injecting drug use, and has published extensively on these topics including articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Science, and Nature.

He is active in international research, having collaborated on studies in many different countries.  He serves as a consultant to various institutions, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Academy of Sciences, and the World Health Organization.

Dr. Des Jarlais’ research has received numerous awards, including a New York State Department of Health Commissioner’s award for promoting the health of persons who use drugs.  He formerly served as avcommissioner for the National Commission on AIDS; as a core group member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Injecting Drug Use; and as a member of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Des Jarlais is also an adjunct faculty of psychiatry and preventive medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and guest investigator at Rockefeller University in New York.


BA, Behavioral Science, Rice University, Houston, TX
PhD, Social Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Areas of research and study




A Multistage Process Model of How a Person Who Currently Injects Drugs Comes to Assist Persons Who Do not Inject with Their First Injections

Place-Based Correlates of Exchange Sex Among People Who Inject Drugs in 19 U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 2012

The methamphetamine epidemic among persons who inject heroin in Hai Phong, Vietnam

Associations between methamphetamine use and lack of viral suppression among a cohort of HIV-positive persons who inject drugs in Hai Phong, Vietnam

Cost-effectiveness of direct antiviral agents for hepatitis c virus infection and a combined intervention of syringe access and medication-assisted therapy for opioid use disorders in an injection drug use population

Stevens, E. R., Nucifora, K. A., Hagan, H., Jordan, A. E., Uyei, J., Khan, B., Dombrowski, K., Des Jarlais, D., & Scott Braithwaite, R.

Publication year


Journal title

Clinical Infectious Diseases






Background: There are too many plausible permutations and scale-up scenarios of combination hepatitis C virus (HCV) interventions for exhaustive testing in experimental trials. Therefore, we used a computer simulation to project the health and economic impacts of alternative combination intervention scenarios for people who inject drugs (PWID), focusing on direct antiviral agents (DAA) and medication-assisted treatment combined with syringe access programs (MAT+). Methods. We performed an allocative efficiency study, using a mathematical model to simulate the progression of HCV in PWID and its related consequences. We combined 2 previously validated simulations to estimate the cost-effectiveness of intervention strategies that included a range of coverage levels. Analyses were performed from a health-sector and societal perspective, with a 15-year time horizon and a discount rate of 3%. Results. From a health-sector perspective (excluding criminal justice system-related costs), 4 potential strategies fell on the cost-efficiency frontier. At 20% coverage, DAAs had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $27 251/quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Combinations of DAA at 20% with MAT+ at 20%, 40%, and 80% coverage had ICERs of $165 985/QALY, $325 860/ QALY, and $399 189/QALY, respectively. When analyzed from a societal perspective (including criminal justice system-related costs), DAA at 20% with MAT+ at 80% was the most effective intervention and was cost saving. While DAA at 20% with MAT+ at 80% was more expensive (eg, less cost saving) than MAT+ at 80% alone without DAA, it offered a favorable value compared to MAT+ at 80% alone ($23 932/QALY). Conclusions. When considering health-sector costs alone, DAA alone was the most cost-effective intervention. However, with criminal justice system-related costs, DAA and MAT+ implemented together became the most cost-effective intervention.

Daily heroin injection and psychiatric disorders: A cross-sectional survey among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Haiphong, Vietnam

DSM-5 substance use disorder symptom clusters and HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence

Ending an HIV epidemic among persons who inject drugs in a middle-income country: extremely low HIV incidence among persons who inject drugs in Hai Phong, Viet Nam

Expansion of syringe service programs in the United States, 2015-2018

Hepatitis C incidence and prevalence among Puerto Rican people who use drugs in New York City

High-risk behaviors and their association with awareness of HIV status among participants of a large-scale prevention intervention in Athens, Greece

HIV control programs reduce HIV incidence but not HCV incidence among people who inject drugs in HaiPhong, Vietnam

HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs in Europe, North America, and Israel

HIV Treatment Knowledge in the Context of “Treatment as Prevention” (TasP)

Mortgage Discrimination and Racial/Ethnic Concentration Are Associated with Same-Race/Ethnicity Partnering among People Who Inject Drugs in 19 US Cities

Presenting a conceptual framework for an HIV prevention and care continuum and assessing the feasibility of empirical measurement in Estonia: A case study

Reasons people who use opioids do not accept or carry no-cost naloxone: Qualitative interview study

Towards HCV elimination among people who inject drugs in Hai Phong, Vietnam: Study protocol for an effectiveness-implementation trial evaluating an integrated model of HCV care (DRIVE-C: DRug use & Infections in ViEtnam-hepatitis C)

Towards Targeted Interventions in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: Risk Profiles of People Who Inject Drugs in Haiphong (Vietnam)

Alternative kinship structures, resilience and social support among immigrant trans Latinas in the USA

Feasibility of a simple and scalable cognitive-behavioral intervention to treat problem substance use

Geographic distribution of risk ("Hotspots") for HIV, HCV, and drug overdose among persons who use drugs in New York City: The importance of local history

Global, regional, and national burden of suicide mortality 1990 to 2016: Systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016

Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and mortality of HIV, 1980-2017, and forecasts to 2030, for 195 countries and territories: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study 2017

Failed generating bibliography.

Publication year


Journal title

The Lancet HIV






Background Understanding the patterns of HIV/AIDS epidemics is crucial to tracking and monitoring the progress of prevention and control efforts in countries. We provide a comprehensive assessment of the levels and trends of HIV/AIDS incidence, prevalence, mortality, and coverage of antiretroviral therapy (ART) for 1980-2017 and forecast these estimates to 2030 for 195 countries and territories. Methods We determined a modelling strategy for each country on the basis of the availability and quality of data. For countries and territories with data from population-based seroprevalence surveys or antenatal care clinics, we estimated prevalence and incidence using an open-source version of the Estimation and Projection Package - a natural history model originally developed by the UNAIDS Reference Group on Estimates, Modelling, and Projections. For countries with cause-specific vital registration data, we corrected data for garbage coding (ie, deaths coded to an intermediate, immediate, or poorly defined cause) and HIV misclassification. We developed a process of cohort incidence bias adjustment to use information on survival and deaths recorded in vital registration to back-calculate HIV incidence. For countries without any representative data on HIV, we produced incidence estimates by pulling information from observed bias in the geographical region. We used a re-coded version of the Spectrum model (a cohort component model that uses rates of disease progression and HIV mortality on and off ART) to produce agesex- specific incidence, prevalence, and mortality, and treatment coverage results for all countries, and forecast these measures to 2030 using Spectrum with inputs that were extended on the basis of past trends in treatment scale-up and new infections. Findings Global HIV mortality peaked in 2006 with 1·95 million deaths (95% uncertainty interval 1·87-2·04) and has since decreased to 0·95 million deaths (0·91-1·01) in 2017. New cases of HIV globally peaked in 1999 (3·16 million, 2·79-3·67) and since then have gradually decreased to 1·94 million (1·63-2·29) in 2017. These trends, along with ART scale-up, have globally resulted in increased prevalence, with 36·8 million (34·8-39·2) people living with HIV in 2017. Prevalence of HIV was highest in southern sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, and countries in the region had ART coverage ranging from 65·7% in Lesotho to 85·7% in eSwatini. Our forecasts showed that 54 countries will meet the UNAIDS target of 81% ART coverage by 2020 and 12 countries are on track to meet 90% ART coverage by 2030. Forecasted results estimate that few countries will meet the UNAIDS 2020 and 2030 mortality and incidence targets. Interpretation Despite progress in reducing HIV-related mortality over the past decade, slow decreases in incidence, combined with the current context of stagnated funding for related interventions, mean that many countries are not on track to reach the 2020 and 2030 global targets for reduction in incidence and mortality. With a growing population of people living with HIV, it will continue to be a major threat to public health for years to come. The pace of progress needs to be hastened by continuing to expand access to ART and increasing investments in proven HIV prevention initiatives that can be scaled up to have population-level impact.

Identifying Which Place Characteristics are Associated with the Odds of Recent HIV Testing in a Large Sample of People Who Inject Drugs in 19 US Metropolitan Areas

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