Drug Injecting and Syringe Use in the HIV Risk Environment of Russian Penitentiary Institutions: Qualitative Study
December 14, 2006
Noting that prison is "a high risk environment in relation to [HIV] and hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission associated with injecting drug use," the authors undertook qualitative studies among 209 injecting drug users (IDUs) in Moscow (56 subjects), Volograd (83), and Barnaul (70).
Among participants, 77 percent reported police arrest related to drug use, and 35 percent (55 percent of men) reported a history of imprisonment or detention. The researchers learned that while drugs "were perceived to be generally available in penitentiary institutions, sterile injection equipment was scarce and as a consequence routinely shared, including within large groups." Prisoners' attempts to clean borrowed needles were deemed inadequate, and "risk reduction was severely constrained by a combination of lack of injecting equipment availability and punishment for its possession."
In addition, "Perceptions of relative safety were also found to be associated with assumptions of HIV negativity, resulting from a perception that all prisoners are HIV tested upon entry with those found HIV positive segregated."
"This study shows an urgent need for HIV prevention interventions in the Russian penitentiary system," the authors concluded.
12.2006; Vol. 101; No. 12: P. 1787; Anya Sarang, Tim Rhodes, Lucy Platt, Valentina Kirzhanova, Olga Shelkovnikova, Venyamin Volnov, Dmitri Blagovo, Andrei Rylkov
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.