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Obstacles in provision of anti-retroviral treatment to drug users in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia: A regional overview

Bobrova, N; Sarang, A; Stuikyte, R; Lezhentsev, K; (2007) Obstacles in provision of anti-retroviral treatment to drug users in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia: A regional overview. INT J DRUG POLICY , 18 (4) 313 - 318. 10.1016/j.drugpo.2007.01.015.

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Abstract

Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia is currently the region with the fastest growing HIV epidemic, mainly among injecting drug users (IDUs). This study explored access to anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment among IDUs and evaluated obstacles to gaining access to treatment. Semistructured questionnaires were collected from 21 countries from agencies which deliver services to IDUs (N= 55), including AIDS centres, drug treatment institutions and Non-governmental Organisations. Results showed that there was poor access to ARV treatment for IDUs. The major obstacles reported were: limited range of institutions for the provision of ARVs, lack of treatment due to high cost of ARVs, lack of clear policies and regulations in providing treatment for IDUs, lack of infrastructure and trained staff to provide treatment, and in some countries, absence of mechanisms such as methadone substitution programmes to support IDUs receiving ARV. There is a need for human and capital resources to bring ARV treatment to IDU populations in the region. Regulations and treatment protocols need to be developed to address this particular group of HIV positive clients to insure better adherence and monitoring of clients with HCV co-infection. Integration of provision of ARV treatment with drug treatment and low-threshold services is advised. Substitution therapy should be advocated for in countries where it is not available or where access is limited. Finally, more research needs to be conducted to understand what will work best in each country, region or setting, (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Type:Article
Title:Obstacles in provision of anti-retroviral treatment to drug users in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia: A regional overview
DOI:10.1016/j.drugpo.2007.01.015
Keywords:Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, HIV, drug users, ARV, HEPATITIS-C, THERAPY, ADHERENCE, HIV/AIDS, HAART, CARE

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