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Individual-level, network-level and city-level factors associated with HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs in eight Russian cities: a cross-sectional study.


PMID 23794559

Abstract

To ascertain HIV prevalence among people who inject drug (injection drug users (IDUs)) in the Russian Federation and identify explanations for the disparity in different cities. Cross-sectional survey with serological testing for HIV and hepatitis C virus prevalent infections. 8 Russian cities-Irkutsk, Omsk, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Naberezhnye Chelny, Voronezh, Orel and St Petersburg. In 2007-2009 active IDUs were recruited by respondent-driven sampling with a target sample size of 300 or more in each city. Participants were administered a questionnaire covering sociodemographics, injection risk and protective behaviours, sexual behaviours, HIV knowledge, experiences with drug treatment and harm reduction programmes and social networks. Participants were tested for HIV and hepatitis C by enzyme immunoassay. Data were analysed to identify individual-level, network-level and city-level characteristics significantly associated with HIV prevalence. Factors significant at p≤0.1 were entered into a hierarchical regression model to control for multicollinearity. A total of 2596 active IDUs were recruited, interviewed and tested for HIV and hepatitis C virus infection. HIV prevalence ranged from 3% (in Voronezh) to 64% (in Yekaterinburg). Although individual-level and network-level variables explain some of the difference in prevalence across the eight cities, the over-riding variable that seems to account for most of the variance is the emergence of commercial, as opposed to homemade, heroin as the predominant form of opioid injected. The expansion of commercial heroin markets to many Russian cities may have served as a trigger for an expanding HIV epidemic among IDUs in that country.

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