Low dead-space syringes for preventing HIV among people who inject drugs

Substance Abuse Treatment Evaluations and Interventions Program, RTI International, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2194, USA.
Current opinion in HIV and AIDS (Impact Factor: 4.68). 05/2012; 7(4):369-75. DOI: 10.1097/COH.0b013e328354a276
Source: PubMed


This review examines evidence regarding the differential effects of high dead-space syringes (HDSS) and low dead-space syringes (LDSS) on HIV transmission among people who inject drugs (PWID). It also identifies areas for additional research and examines potential barriers to interventions that promote LDSS.
Results of laboratory experiments and cross-sectional bio-behavioral surveys provide circumstantial evidence that the probability of HIV transmission associated with sharing LDSS is less than the probability of HIV transmission associated with sharing HDSS. Mathematical models suggest that LDSS may prevent injection-related HIV epidemics among PWID.
Circumstantial evidence suggests that LDSS may substantially reduce HIV transmission among PWID, who share syringes. Additional research that links LDSS to reductions in HIV incidence is needed. Most currently available LDSS are 1 ml or smaller and have fixed needles. These cannot be used by PWID 'injecting' larger volumes of fluid and they may be rejected by PWID, who prefer syringes with detachable needles. Nonetheless, LDSS represent a potentially promising intervention that deserves serious consideration.

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    ABSTRACT: Although a growing body of evidence suggests that low dead space syringes may reduce the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C virus infection associated with sharing syringes among people who inject drugs, there is little evidence of effective approaches to motivate people who inject drugs (PWID) to shift from high to low dead space syringes. Using a mix of consumer and trade marketing approaches, informed by rapid assessments of both the syringe market and PWID preferences, practices, and behaviors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Population Services International (PSI) Vietnam piloted an intervention to increase the use of low dead space syringes (LDSS) in the three provinces of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Thai Nguyen, where an estimated 31 % of PWID are HIV positive and 58 % are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV). This paper provides a summary of the social marketing activities implemented and results achieved by PSI Vietnam during an initial 1-year pilot period from December 2012 to December 2013 in these three provinces to explore their effectiveness in motivating PWID to use low dead space syringes. We found major increases in sales of LDSS accompanied by increases in reported use and consistent use of LDSS among PWID in the three provinces included in the pilot program and a positive and independent association (odds ratio (OR) 21.08; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 10.6-27.3) between LDSS use and exposure to social marketing activities. We also found that LDSS use had a stronger association with perceptions of LDSS product quality than with perceptions regarding LDSS potential to reduce HIV transmission risk and use. We conclude that social marketing interventions have an important role to play in widening access to and the use of LDSS for PWID, as they address the need for PWID to find LDSS when and where they need them and also promote the benefits of LDSS use to PWID. High coverage of these activities among PWID appears to be the key in achieving these successes.
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