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.
The aim of the study was to investigate present and past morbidity in drug addicts, 25 years after hospitalisation for acute hepatitis B or hepatitis nonA-nonB. The hospital records for 214 consecutively admitted patients were analysed, and a follow-up study on 66 of the 144 patients still alive was performed. At follow-up, 1 of 54 (1.8%) hepatitis B patients was still HBsAg positive. Twelve patients originally diagnosed as hepatitis nonA-nonB were all among 54 found to be anti-hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV) positive, and the total anti-HCV prevalence was 81.8%. Twelve (22.2%) of the HCV cases were unknown before the follow-up examination. Four (6.1%) participants were anti-human immunodeficiency virus positive, only 1 was on antiretroviral therapy, and none had developed AIDS. Other chronic somatic diseases were a minor problem, whereas drug users reported skin infections as a frequent complication. Forty-three patients (65%) had abandoned addictive drugs since the hospital stay. Serious mental disorders were reported by 19 patients (28.8%), and 17 (25.8%) regarded themselves as present (9) and former (8) compulsive alcohol drinkers. A large proportion of the participants were granted disability pension (39%), a majority because of psychiatric disorders, drug and alcohol abuse.
Adherence to antiretroviral (ART) medication is vital to reducing morbidity and mortality among HIV positive persons. People who inject drugs (PWID) are at high risk for HIV infection in transitional/low/middle income countries (TLMIC). We conducted a systematic review of studies reporting adherence to ART among persons with active injection drug use and/or histories of injection drug use in TLMIC. Meta-regression was performed to examine relationships between location, adherence measurements, and follow-up period. Fifteen studies were included from seven countries. Adherence levels ranged from 33 to 97 %; mean weighted adherence was 72 %. ART adherence was associated with different methods of measuring adherence and studies conducted in Eastern Europe and East Asia. The great heterogeneity observed precludes generalization to TLMIC as a whole. Given the critical importance of ART adherence more research is needed on ART adherence among PWID in TLMIC, including the use of standardized methods for reporting adherence to ART.
Cites: Clin Infect Dis. 2003 Oct 15;37(8):1112-814523777
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
OBJECTIVE: To describe trends and patterns in the AIDS epidemic among Scandinavian women with AIDS. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: All women with AIDS reported to national surveillance units in Denmark, Norway and Sweden in 1980-1990 were included for analyses. RESULTS: The number of heterosexually infected female AIDS cases increased over time. AIDS-defining diseases varied with transmission categories, a variation similar to that found among heterosexual Danish male AIDS cases. Heterosexually infected women were more frequently diagnosed with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia than with oesophagus candidiasis compared with intravenous drug using women. Twenty-five out of 56 heterosexually infected women reported having a male partner who was bisexual or from a Pattern II country, while one in four did not recognize any risk in their sex partner(s). Survival time increased between 1980 and 1990 and did not differ from survival in male AIDS cases. In a proportional hazards model, age, year of diagnosis and the duration of known HIV-positivity before development of AIDS had an independent impact on survival. The number of women known to be HIV-positive for more than 1 year before diagnosis of AIDS increased over time, although the number of women tested for HIV close to the development of AIDS was especially high among heterosexually infected women. CONCLUSION: Increasing numbers of heterosexually infected women are being diagnosed with AIDS in Scandinavia.
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.
In HIV-infected drinkers, alcohol types more likely to cause inflammation could plausibly increase the risk of HIV disease progression. We therefore assessed the association between alcohol type and plasma HIV RNA level (HIV viral load) among HIV-infected drinkers not on antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Russia and Uganda. We analyzed the data of participants from cohorts in Russia and Uganda and assessed their HIV viral load at enrollment by the alcohol type predominantly consumed. We defined predominant alcohol type as the alcohol type contributing >50% of total alcohol consumption in the 1 month (Russia) or 3 months (Uganda) prior to enrollment. Using multiple linear regression, we compared log10 HIV viral load by predominant alcohol type, controlling for age, gender, socioeconomic status, total number of standard drinks, frequency of drinking =6 drinks/occasion, and in Russia, history of injection drug use. Most participants (99.2% of 261 in Russia and 98.9% of 352 in Uganda) predominantly drank one alcohol type. In Russia, we did not find evidence for differences in viral load levels between drinkers of fortified wine (n = 5) or hard liquor (n = 49), compared to drinkers of beer/low-ethanol-content cocktails (n = 163); however, wine/high-ethanol-content cocktail drinkers (n = 42) had higher mean log10 viral load than beer/low-ethanol-content cocktail drinkers (ß = 0.38, 95% CI 0.07-0.69; p = 0.02). In Uganda, we did not find evidence for differences in viral load levels between drinkers of locally-brewed beer (n = 41), commercially-distilled spirits (n = 38), or locally-distilled spirits (n = 43), compared to drinkers of commercially-made beer (n = 218); however, wine drinkers (n = 8) had lower mean log10 HIV viral load (ß = -0.65, 95% CI -1.36 to 0.07, p = 0.08), although this did not reach statistical significance. Among HIV-infected drinkers not yet on ART in Russia and Uganda, we observed an association between the alcohol type predominantly consumed and the HIV viral load level in the Russia sample. These exploratory results suggest that, in addition to total number of drinks and drinking patterns, alcohol type might be a dimension of alcohol use that merits examination in studies of HIV and alcohol related outcomes.
Cites: J Phys Chem B. 2009 Feb 19;113(7):1983-92 PMID 19199697
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.
The medico-demographic situation in Voronezh, characterized by a decrease in the birth rate, a rise in the mortality rate, the prevalence of pensioners (38%) in the structure of the population, is presented. The negative influence of the deterioration of socio-economic conditions on the social health of the population, especially on the situation with drug addiction, is pointed out. The extent of the misuse of narcotic and toxic substances among adolescents essentially increased. The rapid assessment of the situation with the intravenous use of drugs in Voronezh was carried out, following the WHO methodology. The conclusion was made concerning the necessity of complex sociological monitoring with a view to obtaining more reliable data on the number of drug addicts. The calculation of the supposed number of users in Voronezh among persons aged 15-30 years, made by three modules of assessment, revealed this number reached 61,374 persons, i.e. every fifth or sixth young person used some narcotic substances. The necessity of taking drastic measures on the primary prophylaxis of HIV infection among injecting drug users by creating conditions for the realization of the programs "Harm Reduction" and "Equal Helps Equal" which proved to be effective in other regions of the Russian Federation.