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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2006 Apr;82 Suppl 1:S49-55.

Predictors of risky needle use following interventions with injection drug users in Ukraine.

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Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 1741 Vine Street, Denver, CO 80206, USA.


This study was designed to assess factors associated with change in needle-related risk behaviors as well as predictors of continued high-risk behavior following intervention efforts among injection drug users (IDUs) in Ukraine. In each of three locations--Kiev, Odessa, and Makeevka/Donesk--100 IDUs were recruited using modified targeted sampling methods. Following a baseline interview, participants were offered free HIV testing and, over the course of the next 5 months, individualized interventions focusing on reducing HIV-related risk behaviors. Former IDUs conducted interventions through street outreach. The intervention model was based on the Indigenous Leader Outreach Model (ILOM) and stressed assessing an individual's unique risks and developing strategies by which to minimize those risks. Follow-up assessments showed significant reductions in every risk behavior measured. Following the intervention, however, approximately one of four participants reported front- or backloading, using drugs obtained from a common container or injecting with a used needle/syringe. Although the sample as a whole averaged only 28 years of age, those who were younger were significantly more likely to engage in each of these behaviors than those who were older. In light of the overall young age of the Ukrainian IDUs observed in this study, the consistent finding that younger IDUs were at highest risk foreshadows a worsening HIV epidemic in Ukraine.

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