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Indian J Public Health. 1997 Apr-Jun;41(2):49-51.

Relationship of national highway with injecting drug abuse and HIV in rural Manipur, India.

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ICMR Unit for Research on AIDS in North-Eastern States of India, Calcutta.


Earlier study reported that about 1% of general population or urban Manipur was injecting drug users (IDUs). A study was conducted to observe the IDU prevalence in rural Manipur and the role of national highway (NH) in determining the IDU prevalence if any. It was also aimed to study the HIV prevalence among IDUs of different villages. Villages were startified in to 3 categories based on distance and communication facilities from the national highway, which cuts across the villages to the neighboring state, Nagaland. Villages close to NH had the highest IDU prevalence of 1.3% and remote villages had the least prevalence of 0.2% whereas villages in between the above mentioned two groups had a prevalence of 0.9%. It was surprisingly observed that HIV was uniformly distributed among the IDUs of all villages and ranged from 50-51%. This indicates that IDU prevalence at distance is predominantly determined by the presence of drug trafficking route/s like national highway whereas HIV prevalence is mainly determined by the needle sharing behaviour of IDUs.


A previous study found a 1% prevalence of injecting drug use among the population of urban Manipur, India. The present study measured this prevalence in different villages in Manipur and assessed the impact of the National Highway on drug use. Pure injectable heroin is known to be transported along this highway. Villages were stratified into three groups on the basis of their proximity to the highway. The prevalence of injecting drug use was estimated as 1.3% in villages within 2 km of the highway, 0.9% in those located 2-10 km from the highway, and 0.2% in those situated at a distance of more than 10 km from the highway. The rates of HIV positivity among injecting drug users identified through this study were 50.0%, 51.4%, and 50.0%, respectively. Most injecting drug users were 25-30 years of age. Needle sharing was widespread. 48% of identified users expressed a desire to stop drug injection, primarily because of concerns about the associated HIV/AIDS risk, economic pressures, and loss of social prestige. AIDS prevention campaigns should be initiated as soon as a geographic connection (e.g., a major highway) to injecting drug use is identified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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