Expert at IAS Conference Warns That Heroin Use Contributing to Spread of HIV in Eurasia
July 26, 2005
HIV is spreading among heroin users who live along drug trafficking routes leading out of Afghanistan and through other Eurasian countries, a researcher warned Monday at the 3rd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the AP/Yahoo! News reports. The number of HIV cases is rising in Belarus, Iran, Moldavia, Tajikistan, Ukraine and other countries along the drug trafficking route from Afghanistan to Eastern Europe, Christopher Beyrer, an associate professor of epidemiology and international health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said (Astor, AP/Yahoo! News, 7/25). Beyrer said that 26 countries -- most of them in Asia -- that previously experienced declines in the number of new HIV/AIDS cases are facing a resurgence of the disease. Poor prevention methods and substandard treatment in Central Asia and the former Soviet republics are fueling the spread of the virus, and the situation could set back the global fight, Beyrer said (Xinhuanet, 7/26). He noted that only about 10% of drug users in the region have access to clean needles and drug-substitution therapy, such as methadone (AP/Yahoo! News, 7/25). Methadone allows injection drug users to avoid needles, as the drug is administered orally, and function normally because it satiates their desire for heroin. The World Health Organization recently endorsed the integration of methadone therapy into national HIV/AIDS treatment programs. Beyrer urged Russia and neighboring countries to lift their ban on the use of such opiates to treat injection drug users. "Methadone is essentially an AIDS prevention tool," he said (Khalip, Reuters AlertNet, 7/26).
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Kaisernetwork.org Webcasting Key Sessions
In partnership with IAS, kaisernetwork.org is the official webcaster of the 3rd IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment. Kaisernetwork.org will provide daily webcasts of sessions and press conferences, as well as interviews with newsmakers, which are available to download for podcasting. The webcasts and interviews are available at no cost and without registration. Additional information about viewing webcasts and signing up for a daily e-mail update is available online, and organizations are welcome to link to kaisernetwork.org's conference coverage from their Web sites. Webcasts of Monday's sessions are now available online, including a plenary on the global response, the official conference press briefing, a forum on what it will take to control the epidemic, and a debate and satellite symposium on vaccines. You can also view a newsmaker interview with Octavio Valente, president of Brazil's Grupo Pela Vidda and chair of the Conference Community Advisory Board. Webcasts of Tuesday's sessions -- including the release of a new study on circumcision -- will be a available later today.
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.