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(1/258) The impact of a needle exchange's closure.

OBJECTIVE: The Windham, Connecticut, needle exchange closed in May 1997 after becoming embroiled in a public controversy in which it was blamed for the city's drug problem, discarded syringes, and even the economic decline of the city itself. The authors interviewed injection drug users and conducted a community survey of discarded drug paraphernalia to explore the effects of the needle exchange's closure. METHODS: After the needle exchange was closed in March 1997, the authors re-recruited former participants in an AIDS prevention research project, the majority of whom were clients of the needle exchange. The authors analyzed responses from these respondents' pre-closure interviews and from III post-closure initial interviews and 78 post-closure follow-up interviews as well as data on discarded syringes and "dope bags". RESULTS: Following the closure of the needle exchange, significant increases were found in the percentage of respondents who reported an unreliable source as their primary source of syringes, in respondents' reports of the frequency of reusing syringes, and in the percentage of respondents who reported sharing of syringes. Surveys of outdoor drug-use areas found that the closure of the needle exchange did not reduce the volume of discarded syringes and other drug-injection debris. CONCLUSIONS: The problems in Windham that led to the closure of the exchange still remain, and the city's drug injectors are engaging in higher levels of HIV risk behavior.  (+info)

(2/258) Epidemic transmission of human immunodeficiency virus in renal dialysis centers in Egypt.

In 1993 an epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection occurred among 39 patients at 2 renal dialysis centers in Egypt. The centers, private center A (PCA) and university center A (UCA) were visited, HIV-infected patients were interviewed, seroconversion rates at UCA were calculated, and relatedness of HIV strains was determined by sequence analysis; 34 (62%) of 55 patients from UCA and 5 (42%) of 12 patients from PCA were HIV-infected. The HIV seroconversion risk at UCA varied significantly with day and shift of dialysis session. Practices that resulted in sharing of syringes among patients were observed at both centers. The analyzed V3 loop sequences of the HIV strain of 12 outbreak patients were >96% related to each other. V3 loop sequences from each of 8 HIV-infected Egyptians unrelated to the 1993 epidemic were only 76%-89% related to those from outbreak strains. Dialysis patients may be at risk for HIV infection if infection control guidelines are not followed.  (+info)

(3/258) Continued risky behavior in HIV-infected youth.

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to describe and compare risky behaviors in HIV-infected youths and adults. METHODS: Records of HIV-infected outpatients were reviewed for the period January 1990 to February 1998. Youths (younger than 22 years at HIV diagnosis and younger than 25 years at study entry, n = 139) were compared with adults (22 years or older at HIV diagnosis or 25 years or older at study entry, n = 2880). Risky behaviors occurring after HIV diagnosis included unsafe sex and needle sharing. RESULTS: Female and male youths were more than twice as likely as adults to engage in risky behavior (adjusted odds ratios of 2.6 and 2.3, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Both youths and adults continue to engage in risky behaviors after HIV diagnosis. Prospective studies are needed, along with targeted public health campaigns, for youths with HIV and for those at risk of infection.  (+info)

(4/258) Presence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1, group M, non-B subtypes, Bronx, New York: a sentinel site for monitoring HIV genetic diversity in the United States.

In the United States, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1, group M, subtype B is the predominant subtype. A cross-sectional study of HIV-infected patients at the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center, Bronx, NY, between September 1997 and February 1998 identified 3 (1. 2%) of 252 persons infected with non-B subtypes: subtypes A and F, 1 each, and 1 potential recombinant subtype B(env)/F(prt). All 3 persons were born in the United States and tested positive for HIV antibodies between 1988 and 1997 while living in the Bronx. None reported travel to other countries, receipt of blood products, or drug injection. This study is among the first to indicate probable transmission of non-B HIV-1 subtypes in the United States. The occurrence of non-B HIV-1 subtypes in long-term US residents without a history of foreign travel may have implications for the evaluation and development of antiretroviral drugs, vaccines, and tests intended for use in the United States to diagnose HIV infection and screen blood.  (+info)

(5/258) Volunteer bias in nonrandomized evaluations of the efficacy of needle-exchange programs.

OBJECTIVE: Nonrandomized comparisons of the incidence of HIV and hepatitis B and C between injection drug users (IDUs) who do and do not attend voluntary needle-exchange programs may be subject to bias. To explore possible sources of bias, we examined characteristics associated with voluntarily beginning or ceasing to participate in the Seattle needle exchange. METHODS: In a cohort of 2,879 IDUs, a standardized questionnaire measured characteristics present at enrollment. We examined the relation of these characteristics to the proportion of IDUs who began to use the program during the ensuing 12-month follow-up period and to the proportion of current exchangers who dropped out during that period of time. RESULTS: Of the 494 never-exchangers at baseline, 32% attended the exchange program during follow-up; those who reported sharing syringes or who were homeless at enrollment were more likely to become new exchange users (adjusted risk ratio [ARR] for becoming an exchange user = 1.8 for those who shared syringes, and ARR = 2.2 for those who were homeless). Of 1,274 current exchangers, 16% stopped using the exchange during followup, with daily injectors (ARR = 0.6) and those who reported backloading (ARR = 0.6) being relatively less likely to drop out of the exchange. CONCLUSIONS: The analysis suggests that IDUs participating in needle-exchange programs at a given point in time may include a particularly high proportion of those injectors whose pattern of drug use puts them at elevated risk of blood-borne viral infections.  (+info)

(6/258) The social geography of AIDS and hepatitis risk: qualitative approaches for assessing local differences in sterile-syringe access among injection drug users.

While significant gains have been achieved in understanding and reducing AIDS and hepatitis risks among injection drug users (IDUs), it is necessary to move beyond individual-level characteristics to gain a fuller understanding of the impact of social context on risk. In this study, 6 qualitative methods were used in combination with more traditional epidemiologic survey approaches and laboratory bioassay procedures to examine neighborhood differences in access to sterile syringes among IDUs in 3 northeastern cities. These methods consisted of (1) neighborhood-based IDU focus groups to construct social maps of local equipment acquisition and drug use sites; (2) ethnographic descriptions of target neighborhoods; (3) IDU diary keeping on drug use and injection equipment acquisition; (4) ethnographic day visits with IDUs in natural settings; (5) interviews with IDUs about syringe acquisition and collection of syringes for laboratory analysis; and (6) focused field observation and processual interviewing during drug injection. Preliminary findings from each of these methods are reported to illustrate the methods' value in elucidating the impact of local and regional social factors on sterile syringe access.  (+info)

(7/258) Behavioral risk reduction in a declining HIV epidemic: injection drug users in New York City, 1990-1997.

OBJECTIVES: This study assessed trends in HIV risk behaviors among injection drug users in New York City from 1990 to 1997. METHODS: Injection drug users were recruited continuously from a large drug detoxification treatment program (N = 2588) and a research storefront located in a high-drug-use area (N = 2701). Informed consent was obtained, and a trained interviewer administered a structured interview covering sociodemographics, drug use history, HIV risk behavior, and participation in syringe exchange. RESULTS: Trends were assessed for 5 risk behaviors in the 6-month period before the interview. The 3 injection risk behaviors declined significantly over time at each site (all P < .01). When data were pooled across sites, all 5 risk behaviors declined significantly over time (all P < .01). Participation in syringe exchange programs and in HIV counseling and testing increased greatly from 1990 to 1997. CONCLUSIONS: The continuing risk reduction among injection drug users indicates a "declining phase" in the large HIV epidemic in New York City. HIV prevention programs appear to be making an important contribution to the declining phase.  (+info)

(8/258) Randomized controlled trial of audio computer-assisted self-interviewing: utility and acceptability in longitudinal studies. HIVNET Vaccine Preparedness Study Protocol Team.

Recent studies have reported on the utility of audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) in surveys of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) risk behaviors that involve a single assessment. This paper reports the results of a test of ACASI within a longitudinal study of HIV risk behavior and infection. Study participants (gay men (n = 1,974) and injection drug users (n = 903)) were randomly assigned to either ACASI or interviewer-administered assessment at their second follow-up visit 12 months after baseline. Significantly more of the sexually active gay men assessed via ACASI reported having sexual partners who were HIV antibody positive (odds ratio = 1.36, 95% confidence interval: 1.08, 1.72), and a higher proportion reported unprotected receptive anal intercourse. Among injection drug users (IDUs), our hypothesis was partially supported. Significantly more IDUs assessed via ACASI reported using a needle after another person without cleaning it (odds ratio = 2.40, 95% confidence interval: 1.34, 4.30). ACASI-assessed IDUs reported similar rates of needle sharing and needle exchange use but a lower frequency of injection. Participants reported few problems using ACASI, and it was well accepted among members of both risk groups. Sixty percent of the participants felt that the ACASI elicited more honest responses than did interviewer-administered questionnaires. Together, these data are consistent with prior research findings and suggest that ACASI can enhance the quality of behavioral assessment and provide an acceptable method for collecting self-reports of HIV risk behavior in longitudinal studies and clinical trials of prevention interventions.  (+info)