Racial and ethnic disparities and implications for the prevention of HIV among persons who inject drugs.

Beth Israel Medical Center, New York, New York, USA.
Current opinion in HIV and AIDS (Impact Factor: 4.39). 04/2012; 7(4):354-61. DOI: 10.1097/COH.0b013e328353d990
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There are now an estimated 16 million people who inject drugs (PWID) throughout the world, 3 million of whom are estimated to be infected with HIV. In many countries, substantial proportions of PWID belong to racial/ethnic/nationality minority groups, and are at increased likelihood of being infected with HIV. This article reviews current evidence on ethnic disparities in HIV infection among PWID and assesses the issues that would need to be addressed to reduce these disparities.
An ongoing systematic review of ethnic disparities has found that, in a pooled weighted odds ratio, ethnic minority PWID are twice as likely to be HIV seropositive than ethnic majority, PWID from the same geographic area. If implemented with sufficient quality and coverage, current HIV prevention programs probably have the capability of ending HIV transmission among both ethnic majority and minority PWID. Large-scale, evidence-based prevention programs need to be implemented in the contexts of patterns of injecting drug use that continue to evolve-with injecting practices spreading to new areas, changes in drugs injected, and some transitions from injecting to noninjecting drug use. Lack of financial resources and policies against evidence-based programming are increasingly important problems that are likely to have particularly adverse effects on ethnic minority PWID.
Racial/ethnic/nationality disparities in HIV infection are quite common among PWID. Addressing these disparities will be a fundamental challenge within a human rights approach to public health.

  • Source
    • "The elevated summary odds ratios for the US and China found in the meta-analysis of international data on HIV prevalence (Des Jarlais et al., 2012) suggest that drug distribution networks may contribute to ethnic minority group members being more likely to share injecting equipment with HIV seropositive partners. Illicit drug distribution frequently occurs in highly segregated ethnic minority communities of concentrated poverty. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection, with minority groups typically having higher rates of infection, are a formidable public health challenge. In the United States, among both men and women who inject drugs, HIV infection rates are elevated among Hispanics and non-Hispanic Blacks. A meta-analysis of international research concluded that among persons who inject drugs, racial and ethnic minorities were twice as likely to acquire an HIV infection, though there was great variation across the individual studies. To examine strategies to reduce racial/ethnic disparities among persons who inject drugs, we reviewed studies on injection drug use and its role in HIV transmission. We identified four sets of evidence-based interventions that may reduce racial/ethnic disparities among persons who inject drugs: HIV counseling and testing, risk reduction services, access to antiretroviral therapy, and drug abuse treatment. Implementation of these services, however, is insufficient in many countries, including the United States. Persons who inject drugs appear to be changing drug use norms and rituals to reduce their risks. The challenges are to (a) develop a validated model of how racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection arise, persist, and are reduced or eliminated over time and (b) implement evidence-based services on a sufficient scale to eliminate HIV transmission among all persons who inject drugs. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved).
    American Psychologist 01/2013; 68(4):274-285. DOI:10.1037/a0032745 · 6.87 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: : In the United States, racial differences in the prevalence and incidence of HIV infection and AIDS diagnoses are dramatic. These differences are large, have been recognized for nearly 20 years, and are as yet not well investigated. These disparities show no signs of diminishing and, in fact, are widening, particularly among drug users and women. Most observers of the racial disparities in prevalence and incidence of HIV infections and AIDS diagnoses in the United States have concluded that these disparities exist because prevention messages, supplies, and/or interventions do not effectively reach those at greatest risk of infection. In essence, such interpretations suggest that Blacks and Latinos continue to practice more risk behaviors than Whites. There are much data to suggest that this is, in fact, not true. Evidence from 232 'index' injection drug users and 465 of their drug and sexual network members participating in HIV Prevention Trials Network 037 is presented. These data describe lower use and/or access to drug treatment and needle exchange programs by Black injectors. In addition, data indicate the coexistence of increased prevalence of HIV in the networks of uninfected Black drug users and fewer associated risk behaviors in the networks of Black and Latino indices compared with networks of White indices. Understanding racial disparities in HIV is a critical challenge; yet, risk behaviors alone do not explain observed disparities in infection rates.
    JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 06/2013; 63 Suppl 1:S90-4. DOI:10.1097/QAI.0b013e3182921506 · 4.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During 2011, a dramatic increase (1600%) of reported HIV-1 infections among injecting drug users (IDUs) was noted in Athens, Greece. We herein assess the potential causal pathways associated with this outbreak. Our study employed high resolution HIV-1 phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses. We examined also longitudinal data of ecological variables such as the annual growth of gross domestic product (GDP) of Greece in association with HIV-1 and HCV sentinel prevalence in IDUs, unemployment and homelessness rates and HIV transmission networks in Athens IDUs before and during economic recession (2008-2012). IDU isolates sampled in 2011 and 2012 suggested transmission networks in 94.6% and 92.7% of the cases in striking contrast with the sporadic networking (5%) during 1998-2009. The geographic origin of most HIV-1 isolates was consistent with the recently documented migratory waves in Greece. The decline in GDP was inversely correlated with annual prevalence rates of HIV and HCV and with unemployment and homelessness rates in IDUs (all p<0.001). The slope of anti-HCV prevalence in the sentinel populations of IDUs and in "new" drug injectors was found 120 and 1.9-fold (p = 0.007, p = 0.08 respectively) higher in 2008-2012 (economic recession) compared with 2002-2006. The median (25th, 75th) size of transmission networks were 34 (12, 58) and 2 (2, 2) (p = 0.057) in 2008-2012 and 1998-2007, respectively. The coverage of harm reduction services was low throughout the study period. Scaling-up harm reduction services and addressing social and structural factors related to the current economic crisis should be urgently considered in environments where HIV-1 outbreaks may occur.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e78941. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0078941 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Show more