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 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.
Over the past five years the Tanzanian-Norwegian AIDS Project (MUTAN) has assisted the National AIDS Control Programme in creating and testing innovative HIV/AIDS educational programmes. These programmes, designed to reach a variety of target groups, have been implemented throughout the Arusha and Kilimanjaro regions and include: public meetings, intensive courses, information centres, radio programmes and school-based programmes. A recent survey of 996 participants (15-54 years old) was designed to assess public exposure to HIV/AIDS information. A total of 72% of the participants reported having heard about AIDS on the radio, 74% having read about AIDS in newspapers, and 52% having heard about AIDS from a health worker during the previous month. Furthermore, 26% had listened to MUTAN's weekly radio programme at least once. 31% knew of MUTAN's information centres, and 15% had visited one of these centres. The results indicate that large proportion of the population is receiving in-depth HIV/AIDS information. It is recommended that future work concentrate on how to reach people with no or little formal education, young adults and women.
Russia has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption and is experiencing one of the fastest-growing HIV epidemics in the world. Given these co-occurring health problems, we systematically reviewed combined alcohol and sexual risk interventions to reduce HIV among Russians. We completed comprehensive electronic searches to locate studies that (a) sampled people living in Russia, (b) used a behavioral intervention, and (c) assessed both alcohol and sexual risk behavior. These searches yielded 584 studies, of these, two were included. Compared with controls, intervention participants reported increasing their condom use (ds ranged from 0.12 to 0.85). Within-group improvements in sexual behaviors were found for both groups (ds ranged from 0.19 to 1.94); participants reported fewer sexual partners, more condom use, and reduced alcohol or drug use before sex. These findings support the need and potential benefits for alcohol and HIV interventions among Russians, and suggest directions for public policy.
Alcohol use is a public health problem in the Russian Federation. This study explored relationships between alcohol use and behavioral risks for HIV transmission among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Moscow, Russia. Alcohol use disorder identification test (AUDIT) scores for 1367 MSM participating in a cross-sectional survey and HIV testing were categorized to: "abstinence/low use", "hazardous use", "harmful use/dependency". Multiple logistic regression models compared dependent variables for sexual and drug use behaviors across alcohol use strata. Hazardous and harmful/dependent alcohol use were significantly associated with high-risk sexual behaviors and drug use. Harmful use/dependency was associated with an increased odds of having more than five male sex partners (last 12 months; adjusted odds ratios-AOR 1.69; 95 % CI 1.25-2.27), inconsistent condom use during anal intercourse (AOR 2.19; 95 % CI 1.61-2.96) and, among those using recreational drugs, injection drug use (last month; AOR 4.38: 95 % CI 1.13-17.07) compared to abstinent/low-level users. Harmful/dependent use was marginally associated with HIV infection (AOR 1.48; 95 % CI 0.97-2.25). HIV prevention efforts for MSM in Moscow may benefit from addressing problem alcohol use to mitigate high-risk behaviors.
Injection drug users in Tirana, Albania and St. Petersburg, Russia were recruited into a study assessing HIV-related behaviors and HIV serostatus using Respondent Driven Sampling (RDS), a peer-driven recruitment sampling strategy that results in a probability sample. (Salganik M, Heckathorn DD. Sampling and estimation in hidden populations using respondent-driven sampling. Sociol Method. 2004;34:193-239). This paper presents a comparison of RDS implementation, findings on network and recruitment characteristics, and lessons learned. Initiated with 13 to 15 seeds, approximately 200 IDUs were recruited within 8 weeks. Information resulting from RDS indicates that social network patterns from the two studies differ greatly. Female IDUs in Tirana had smaller network sizes than male IDUs, unlike in St. Petersburg where female IDUs had larger network sizes than male IDUs. Recruitment patterns in each country also differed by demographic categories. Recruitment analyses indicate that IDUs form socially distinct groups by sex in Tirana, whereas there was a greater degree of gender mixing patterns in St. Petersburg. RDS proved to be an effective means of surveying these hard-to-reach populations.
We evaluated the influence of type and timing of prophylaxis on perinatal HIV transmission in St. Petersburg, Russia.
We linked surveillance data for 1498 HIV-infected mothers delivering from 2004 to 2007 with polymerase chain reaction data for 1159 infants to determine predictors of transmission.
The overall perinatal transmission rate was 6.3% [73 of 1159, 95% confidence interval (CI) 4.9% to 7.7%]. Among the 12.8% (n = 149) of mother-infant pairs receiving full course (antenatal, intrapartum, postnatal) dual/triple antiretroviral prophylaxis, the transmission rate was 2.7%. Among the 1010 receiving less complete regimens (full course zidovudine, single-dose nevirapine, or incomplete), transmission ranged from 4.1% to 12.2%. Among the 28.9% (330) of mothers initiating antiretroviral drugs or=29 weeks (or not at all) had increased transmission odds (adjusted odds ratio: 4.9, 95% CI: 1.8 to 12.9; odds ratio: 5.1, 95% CI: 2.0 to 13.1, respectively).
In St. Petersburg, the potential for further reductions in perinatal transmission is evident, given low transmission among women receiving early combination prophylaxis.