Navigation Links
High-risk behaviors could lead to HIV epidemic in Afghanistan
Date:8/28/2007

In a report that is among the first to describe the prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis B and C viruses in Afghanistan, a researcher from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine voiced concerns that increasing injection drug use and accompanying high-risk behavior could lead to an HIV epidemic in Afghanistan.

Our findings suggest that interventions to reduce high-risk behaviors among injection drug users are urgently needed in Afghanistan, said Catherine S. Todd, M.D., MPH, assistant professor in UCSDs Division of International Health and Cross-cultural Medicine, who is currently working in Kabul, Afghanistan. The findings are published in the September issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Although HIV prevalence is currently low among injection drug users in Kabul, Todd and colleagues with the National HIV/AIDS Control Program of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health found that risky injecting and sexual behaviors were alarmingly high. The incidence of Hepatitis C infection was also high, which could foreshadow an increase in HIV rates.

It is important to educate the public about this looming problem in Afghanistan, said Dr. Saifur Rehman, manager of the HIV/AIDS Control Program of the Afghan Ministry of Public Health, who added that one of the biggest obstacles to intervention programs is lack of funding. Afghanistan has received a $10 million grant from the HIV/AIDS programs of the World Bank for three years and has a pending proposal to the Global Fund. Programming for drug users, directed towards reducing or containing adverse health, social, and economic consequences, is a major component of these plans. The country continues to seek other support to help deal with the potential increase in HIV a problem which, Rehman says, is of unknown proportions. It is not clear how many cases we have, but there are probably many more than are reflected by available test results, he said.

The research team conducted a study of 464 injection drug users in Kabul, age 18 and older, which was administered between June 2005 and June 2006. The study was conducted through the Voluntary Counseling and Testing Center at the Central Polyclinic in Kabul, an Afghan Ministry of Public Health facility. Pre- and post-test counseling and rapid antibody testing for HIV and HCV were performed, and all participants received risk reduction counseling, condoms and sterile syringes.

Among this group of Afghan males, high-risk behaviors were common, including sharing syringes (50%), paid sex with a women (76%), and sex with men or boys (28%.) More than half had been incarcerated in prison, 21 percent of them, more than once.

The prevalence of infection with HIV was calculated at about three percent while 38% of the respondents tested positive for Hepatitis C (HCV) infection. HCV was associated with the sharing of needles or syringes, duration of injecting, and having received injections from a non-medical provider. The relatively high prevalence of HCV may potentially foreshadow an HIV epidemic, as these infections share common risk factors.

The window of opportunity is rapidly closing to avert an HIV epidemic among Afghan injection drug users. The low prevalence of HIV infection is unlikely to continue in the presence of high-risk behavior, said Todd, adding that the higher prevalence of hepatitis C may be a harbinger of trends with HIV.

Central Asia is experiencing a rapid increase in HIV cases, largely driven by injection drug use. Afghanistan is the largest global producer of opium; recent UNODC reports estimate there are 50,000 heroin users in the country. While opium has been used for centuries in Afghanistan, the researchers data suggests that injection drug use in Kabul is a relatively new behavior.

A combination of outreach, HIV testing and counseling, access to sterile syringes and drug substitution therapies have been credited with stabilizing HIV rates in other international settings, the study noted. The researchers conclude that a scale-up of needle exchange and other harm-reduction programs, particularly in prisons, is necessary to prevent an HIV epidemic in Afghanistan.


'/>"/>
Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Women With A High-Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease Under treated
2. Success Of Preventable High-Risk HPV Infections With Vaccines May Vary
3. Doctors Do Not Excise Sufficient Caution While Prescribing High-Risk Drugs
4. Study Revels That Women Of Italy Are High-Risk Drinkers
5. Intense Cessation Treatment Proves Successful in High-Risk Smokers
6. New Placenta Screening for High-risk Pregnancies
7. Aspirin may Help to Prevent Colon Cancer in High-risk Individuals
8. High-risk Sexual Behavior Adolescents Attract Peers With Similar Attitudes
9. High-risk Patients Need Better Guidance on What is and Isnt a Heart Attack
10. Teenagers Take More Risk-Taking Behaviors In The Company Of Same Sex Friends
11. Dieting Behaviors Changed Among Weight Losers
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... CitiDent ... sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As many as 18 million ... by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer significant relief to about ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The ... demand of today’s consumer and regulatory authorities worldwide. From Children’s to Adults 50+, ... to meet the highest standard. , These products are also: Gluten Free, ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The American College of Medical Informatics (ACMI) will ... during the Opening Session of AMIA’s Annual Symposium in Washington, D.C. AMIA’s Annual ... F. Collen, a pioneer in the field of medical informatics, this prestigious award is ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... Information about the technology: ... develop to enable prevention of a major side effect of chemotherapy in children. ... pediatric patients. For cisplatin, hearing loss is FDA listed on-label as a dose ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Malvern, PA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... is the recipient of a 2017 Folio Magazine Eddie Digital Award for ‘Best ... New York City on October 11, 2017. , The annual award competition recognizes editorial ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/2/2017)... Fla. , Oct. 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens ... company formed by Walgreens and pharmacy benefit manager Prime ... its new brand, which included the unveiling of new ... , as well as at a few other ... the new brand to patients, some of whom will ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans Bioscience and Early ... of wearable and home sensors for real-time monitoring of ... Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on disruptive health solutions ... affordable analytical system to record and integrate behavioral, cognitive, ... ...
(Date:9/25/2017)... 2017  EpiVax, Inc., a leader in the ... today announced the launch of EpiVax Oncology Inc., ... therapeutic cancer vaccines. EpiVax has provided $500,000 in ... enabling technologies to the new precision immunotherapy venture. ... Oncology as Chief Executive Officer. Gad brings over ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: