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.
Although injection drug use is known to result in a range of health-related harms, including transmission of HIV and fatal overdose, little is known about the possible role of synthetic drugs in injection initiation. We sought to determine the effect of crystal methamphetamine use on risk of injection initiation among street-involved youth in a Canadian setting.
We used Cox regression analyses to identify predictors of injection initiation among injection-naive street-involved youth enrolled in the At-Risk Youth Study, a prospective cohort study of street-involved youth in Vancouver, British Columbia. Data on circumstances of first injection were also obtained.
Between October 2005 and November 2010, a total of 395 drug injection-naive, street-involved youth provided 1434 observations, with 64 (16.2%) participants initiating injection drug use during the follow-up period, for a cumulative incidence of 21.7 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.7-41.7) per 100 person-years. In multivariable analysis, recent noninjection use of crystal methamphetamine was positively associated with subsequent injection initiation (adjusted hazard ratio 1.93, 95% CI 1.31-2.85). The drug of first injection was most commonly reported as crystal methamphetamine (14/31 [45%]).
Noninjection use of crystal methamphetamine predicted subsequent injection initiation, and crystal methamphetamine was the most commonly used drug at the time of first injection. Evidence-based strategies to prevent transition to injection drug use among crystal methamphetamine users are urgently needed.
Cites: Reprod Health Matters. 2009 Nov;17(34):180-619962651
The scope and scale of the HIV outbreak that occurred among injection drug users in Vancouver in the late 1990s was unprecedented and resulted in some 2,000 new HIV infections, with incidence rates reaching 18 per 100 person-years. This outbreak, localized mainly in one neighbourhood, cost the Canadian health care system more than 1 billion dollars to diagnose, care and treat. A number of factors combined to stabilize HIV incidence: 1) HIV prevalence became saturated among those at highest risk; 2) several public health policies focused on drug users were implemented, including increased and additional decentralized needle exchange programs, expanded methadone maintenance services, better addiction treatment services, improved housing, and mental health programs; and 3) increased access and expansion of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy. To ensure that a similar outbreak never occurs again in Vancouver and other cities, future health policy must consider the political, psychosocial and socioeconomic factors that contributed to this outbreak. These policies must address the unintended adverse consequences of past policies and their repercussions for marginalized individuals living in this community and beyond.
We performed analyses of syringe buying and syringe selling among Vancouver injection drug users, recruited from May 1996 and followed up between November 2002 and August 2003, in the context of one of North America's largest syringe exchange programs (SEPs). An interviewer-administered questionnaire, approximately 45 minutes in duration, was used to collect information regarding risk factors for HIV infection and sources of sterile syringes. Seventy participants (15%) reported syringe selling and 122 (26%) reported syringe buying. Syringe sellers were more likely to be female, reside in unstable housing, need help injecting, and have visited the SEP at least once weekly. Syringe buyers were more likely to need help injecting, have difficulty finding new syringes, have binged on drugs, and have visited the SEP at least once weekly. Syringe buying most frequently occurred when the SEP was closed.
Prescription opioids (POs) are playing an increasingly central role in street drug use and related harms in North America. One distinct PO substance of interest is Fentanyl (Duragesic), a potent opioid analgesic designed for transdermal time-release application. Studies from Europe and North America have documented the sizeable overdose and mortality burden associated with the non-medical use of this drug. This study explores practices and risk dynamics associated with Fentanyl abuse, also considering public health implications. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 regular street-entrenched illicit PO users in Toronto, Canada, a sub-sample of which were recent Fentanyl users. Results showed that while relatively rare on the illicit PO market in Toronto, Fentanyl is a highly desired, sought after and relatively expensive PO drug among street users. In addition, the new 'matrix' patch technology implemented for Fentanyl since 2005 is a limited safeguard against abuse as simple extraction methods are utilized by street users. Finally, distinct risk behaviours relevant for public health emerge due to the high black market costs of Fentanyl and the extraction techniques applied, potentially facilitating high risks for infectious disease (e.g., HCV, HIV) transmission and/or overdose. Consequently, prevalence and practices of Fentanyl use by street users require closer monitoring, targeted interventions and further research regarding risks and outcomes.
OBJECTIVES: Vulnerability to HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection for indigenous populations worldwide must be contextualized in experiences of current and past trauma. Aboriginal women entrenched in poverty face further gender-specific harms which place them at increased risk for HIV infection. METHODS: This study was cross-sectional and based on a community-based sample of Aboriginal young people (Metis, Aboriginal, First Nations, Inuit, and non-status Indians) between the ages of 14 and 30 years who used injection or non-injection non-cannabis illegal drugs (street drugs) in the previous month. Between October 2003 and July 2005, 543 participants living in either Vancouver or Prince George, Canada, were recruited by word of mouth, posters, and street outreach. Young people in the study completed a questionnaire administered by Aboriginal interviewers. Female participants (n = 262) were compared to male participants (n = 281) with respect to sociodemographics, trauma, sexual risk variables, and drug use patterns. Trained nurses drew blood samples for HIV and HCV antibodies and provided pre- and post-test counseling. RESULTS: Proportions positive for HIV and HCV were significantly higher among young women. HIV was 13.1% [9.5, 17.7] in women compared to 4.3% [2.5, 7.4] in men, and HCV was 43.6% [37.6, 49.8] in women as compared to 25.4% [20.5, 30.9] in men. When the analysis was restricted to young people who reported injection drug use, the proportions positive for HIV and HCV remained significantly higher among young women. Experiences of forced sex were reported by 70% of young women compared to 29% of young men, p
Homeless and marginally housed persons who use alcohol and/or illicit drugs often have end-of-life care needs that go unmet due to barriers that they face to accessing end-of-life care services. Many homeless and marginally housed persons who use these substances must therefore rely upon alternate sources of end-of-life care and support. This article explores the role of harm reduction services in end-of-life care services delivery to homeless and marginally housed persons who use alcohol and/or illicit drugs.
A qualitative case study design was used to explore end-of-life care services delivery to homeless and marginally housed persons in six Canadian cities. A key objective was to explore the role of harm reduction services. 54 health and social services professionals participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews. All participants reported that they provided care and support to this population at end-of-life.
Harm reduction services (e.g., syringe exchange programs, managed alcohol programs, etc.) were identified as a critical point-of-entry to and source of end-of-life care and support for homeless and marginally housed persons who use alcohol and/or illicit drugs. Where possible, harm reduction services facilitated referrals to end-of-life care services for this population. Harm reduction services also provided end-of-life care and support when members of this population were unable or unwilling to access end-of-life care services, thereby improving quality-of-life and increasing self-determination regarding place-of-death.
While partnerships between harm reduction programs and end-of-life care services are identified as one way to improve access, it is noted that more comprehensive harm reduction services might be needed in end-of-life care settings if they are to engage this underserved population.
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