Drug injecting and syringe use in the HIV risk environment of Russian penitentiary institutions: qualitative study


Sarang, A; Rhodes, T; Platt, L; Kirzhanova, V; Shelkovnikova, O; Volnov, V; Blagovo, D; Rylkov, A; (2006) Drug injecting and syringe use in the HIV risk environment of Russian penitentiary institutions: qualitative study. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 101 (12). pp. 1787-1796. ISSN 0965-2140 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01617.x

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Abstract

Background Evidence highlights the prison as a high risk environment in relation to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmsission associated with injecting drug use. Methods We undertook qualitative studies among 209 injecting drug users (IDUs) in three Russian cities: Moscow (n = 56), Volgograd (n = 83) and Barnaul in western Siberia (n = 70). Results Over three-quarters (77%) reported experience of police arrest related to their drug use, and 35% (55% of men) a history of imprisonment or detention. Findings emphasize the critical role that penitentiary institutions may play as a structural factor in the diffusion of HIV associated with drug injection in the Russian Federation. 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. Attempts to clean borrowed needles or syringes were inadequate, and risk reduction was severely constrained by a combination of lack of injecting equipment availability and punishment for its possession. 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. Conclusion This study shows an urgent need for HIV prevention interventions in the Russian penitentiary system.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: harm reduction, injection drug use, prisoners, prisons, risk, environment, Russia, SEXUALLY-TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS, STRUCTURAL INTERVENTIONS, HARM, REDUCTION, PUBLIC-HEALTH, SEX WORK, PRISON, TUBERCULOSIS, INCARCERATION, FEDERATION, TRANSMISSION
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Social and Environmental Health Research
Research Centre: Centre for Maternal, Reproductive and Child Health (MARCH)
PubMed ID: 17156178
Web of Science ID: 242372700018
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/10604

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