HIV risks among injecting and non-injecting female partners of men who inject drugs in Almaty, Kazakhstan: Implications for HIV prevention, research, and policy

Nabila El-Bassel, Louisa Gilbert, Assel Terlikbayeva, Christopher Beyrer, Elwin Wu, Stacey A. Shaw, Xin Ma, Mingway Chang, Tim Hunt, Leyla Ismayilova, Sholpan Primbetova, Yelena Rozental, Baurzhan Zhussupov

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Abstract

Background: Kazakhstan and other countries in Central Asia are experiencing a rapidly growing HIV epidemic, which has historically been driven by injection drug use, but is more recently being fueled by heterosexual transmission. Methods: This paper examines HIV and HCV infection, as well as sexual and drug-related risks among female partners of men who inject drugs (MWID), comparing females who inject drugs (FWID) to non-injecting female partners on socio-demographic, relationship context, and structural characteristics. Results: The prevalence rate of HIV was 30.1% among FWID and 10.4% among non-IDU female partners of MWID. The prevalence rate of HCV was 89.8% among FWID and 14.8% among female non-IDUs. Less than one-fifth of all female participants had access to HIV education and services or harm reduction programs. Although high rates of non-injection drug use and sexual risk behaviors were found among both FWID and non-injecting female partners of MWID, we found that FWID were more likely to be HIV seropositive (aRR = 3.03; 95% CI = 1.78, 5.18) and HCV seropositive than non-IDU females (aRR = 6.05; 95% CI = 4.05, 9.04), were more likely to have used alcohol or drugs before sex (aRR = 1.67; 95% CI = 1.40, 2.00), and were more likely to have used sedatives, barbiturates, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or painkillers that were not prescribed by a physician (aRR = 17.45; 95% CI = 8.01, 38.01). Conclusion: Given the spread of the HIV epidemic to heterosexual partners in Kazakhstan, more attention is needed in research, prevention, and policies regarding female partners of male injection drug users.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1195-1203
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume25
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Keywords

  • Central Asia
  • Female partners of men who inject drugs
  • HCV
  • HIV
  • Injection drug use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

El-Bassel, N., Gilbert, L., Terlikbayeva, A., Beyrer, C., Wu, E., Shaw, S. A., Ma, X., Chang, M., Hunt, T., Ismayilova, L., Primbetova, S., Rozental, Y., & Zhussupov, B. (2014). HIV risks among injecting and non-injecting female partners of men who inject drugs in Almaty, Kazakhstan: Implications for HIV prevention, research, and policy. International Journal of Drug Policy, 25(6), 1195-1203. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2013.11.009