OBJECTIVES: HIV/AIDS surveillance methods are under revision as the diversity of HIV epidemics is becoming more apparent. The so called "2nd generation surveillance (SGS) systems" aim to enhance surveillance by broadening the range of indicators to prevalence, behaviors and correlates, for a better understanding and a more complete and timely awareness of evolving epidemics. METHODS: Concepts of HIV SGS are reviewed with a special focus on injecting drug users, a major at-risk and hard to reach group in Europe, a region with mainly low or concentrated epidemics. RESULTS: The scope of HIV/AIDS surveillance needs to be broadened following principles of SGS. Specifically for IDUs we propose including hepatitis C data as indicator for injecting risk in routine systems like those monitoring sexually transmitted infections and information on knowledge and attitudes as potential major determinants of risk behavior. CONCLUSIONS: The suggested approach should lead to more complete and timely information for public health interventions, however there is a clear need for comparative validation studies to assess the validity, reliability and cost-effectiveness of traditional and enhanced HIV/AIDS surveillance systems.
In order to assess the acceptability of voluntary population screening for antibodies against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a random sample of 300 Danish men, aged 20-49 years, were sent a self-administered questionnaire. Among nonrespondents, recruitment attempts were repeated three times with intervals of 8-10 days. In total, 76.7% responded. Two hundred men (87.0% of the respondents) would accept an offer to be tested in an anti-HIV screening programme. Among respondents, 72.9% agreed to identify themselves to the researchers, 22.1% preferred to be tested under a code number known only by the participant himself, and 5% wanted the test information to be completely anonymous. Among the 30 men refusing HIV testing, 40% reported they were not concerned about AIDS, 16.7% expressed concern with confidentiality problems, and another 16.7% had been tested already and for this reason declined to participate. Previous reports have indicated high seroprevalences among nonrespondents and raised prevalences of behavior at high risk for HIV infection among persons who do themselves take the initiative to be tested or who decline to be tested because they worry about confidentiality. Low respondency and the associated disproportional loss of subjects at high risk of HIV infection may bias HIV seroprevalence estimates based on population probability sampling, especially in areas with low HIV infection prevalence. Because of these biases, voluntary population screening is likely to give only lower bound estimates of HIV seroprevalence. So, this technique should only be used in combination with other surveillance approaches.
Many HIV-infected women are not realizing the benefits of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) despite significant advancements in treatment. Women in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) are highly marginalized and struggle with multiple morbidities, unstable housing, addiction, survival sex, and elevated risk of sexual and drug-related harms, including HIV infection. Although recent studies have identified the heightened risk of HIV infection among women engaged in sex work and injection drug use, the uptake of HIV care among this population has received little attention. The objectives of this study are to evaluate the needs of women engaged in survival sex work and to assess utilization and acceptance of HAART. During November 2003, a baseline needs assessment was conducted among 159 women through a low-threshold drop-in centre servicing street-level sex workers in Vancouver. Cross-sectional data were used to describe the sociodemographic characteristics, drug use patterns, HIV/hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing and status, and attitudes towards HAART. High rates of cocaine injection, heroin injection, and smokeable crack cocaine use reflect the vulnerable and chaotic nature of this population. Although preliminary findings suggest an overall high uptake of health and social services, there was limited attention to HIV care with only 9% of the women on HAART. Self-reported barriers to accessing treatment were largely attributed to misinformation and misconceptions about treatment. Given the acceptability of accessing HAART through community interventions and women specific services, this study highlights the potential to reach this highly marginalized group and provides valuable baseline information on a population that has remained largely outside consistent HIV care.
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Cites: CMAJ. 2002 Apr 2;166(7):894-911949985
Cites: AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2000 Jan;14(1):47-5812240882
In a Russian Orthodox Church drug rehabilitation program in St. Petersburg, drug addiction was often described as a disease of frozen feelings. This image suggests that rehabilitation is a process of thawing emotional worlds and, thus, allows the emotions to flow once again. In this article I argue that "frozen feelings" is better understood as the unsocial emotional worlds many drug users experience, and that rehabilitation in this church-run program particularly focuses on the cultivation of an emotional world that supports sociality. This is done, I argue, by means of ethically training rehabilitants to learn how to control and manage their emotional worlds, and in so doing, rehabilitants become new moral persons better able to live in the social world.
This study investigates whether age at first alcoholic drink is associated with sexual risk behaviors among injection drug users (IDUs) and non-IDUs who are sexual partners of IDUs in St. Petersburg, Russia. A path analysis was used to test a model of age at first drink, age at sexual debut, age at first drug use, current substance use patterns and current sexual risk behaviors among 558 participants. Results revealed that age at first drink had an effect on multiple sex partners through age at sexual debut and injection drug use, but no effect on unprotected sex. Age at first drug use was not related to sexual risk behaviors. Investigation of age of drinking onset may provide useful information for programs to reduce sexual risk behaviors and injection drug use. Different paths leading to unprotected sex and multiple sexual partners call for different approaches to reduce sexual risk behaviors among this population.
Cites: AIDS Behav. 2005 Dec;9(4):403-8; discussion 409-1316344920