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  • The medical profession “needs to wake up” and start doing many more HIV tests

    Posted on April 27th, 2012 TimB No comments

    The medical  profession “needs to wake up” and start doing many more HIV tests, a sexual health and HIV specialist has said. An inexpensive check could save the Irish health services €150 million in the process, he said.

    Dr Colm O’Mahony, a HIV specialist from Dundalk who works with the Countess of Chester NHS Trust Hospital UK, said an estimated 1,500 HIV sufferers remain undiagnosed in Ireland.

    Yet many doctors were reluctant to offer HIV tests to patients due to a perceived stigma among patients. “Doctors need to stop pussyfooting around and start doing the test, letting the patient know the test is being done but not singling it out as something unique and different,” he said.

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  • Greece on the breadline: HIV and malaria make a comeback

    Posted on March 15th, 2012 TimB No comments

    The incidence of HIV/Aids among intravenous drug users in central Athens soared by 1,250% in the first 10 months of 2011 compared with the same period the previous year, according to the head of Médecins sans Frontières Greece, while malaria is becoming endemic in the south for the first time since the rule of the colonels.

    Reveka Papadopoulos said that following savage cuts to the national health service budget, including heavy job losses and a 40% reduction in funding for hospitals, Greek social services were “under very severe strain, if not in a state of breakdown. What we are seeing are very clear indicators of a system that cannot cope.”

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  • Glasgow drug users warned of HIV cluster

    Posted on February 20th, 2012 TimB No comments

    A warning has been issued to injecting drug users in the west of Scotland following a cluster of new cases of HIV infection.

    Six drug users in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area have been diagnosed as having been exposed to the virus since the start of 2012.

    Doctors would expect to see about 10 cases in the area in the course of an entire year.

    Drug users have been advised to seek sterile needles and syringes.

    Public health consultant Eleanor Anderson said: “It is important for injecting drug users to engage with the wide range of services we offer designed to help them tackle their addictions.

    “However, for those who continue to inject we remind them to take all the safety precautions necessary to protect themselves and others.”

    NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s Public Health Protection Unit said sterile needles and other injecting equipment were available at pharmacies and clinics offering drug services.

  • Perceived Serosorting of Injection Paraphernalia Sharing Networks among Injection Drug users in Baltimore

    Posted on January 30th, 2012 TimB No comments

    We examined perceived serosorting of injection paraphernalia sharing networks among a sample of 572 injection drug users (IDUs). There was evidence for serosorting of high-risk injection behaviors among HIVnegative IDUs, as 94% of HIV-negative IDUs shared injection paraphernalia exclusively with perceived HIV negative networks. However, 82% of HIV-positive IDUs shared injection paraphernalia with perceived HIV-negative networks. The findings indicate a potential risk of rapid HIV transmission. Future prevention efforts targeting IDUs should address the limitation of serosorting, and focus on preventing injection paraphernalia sharing regardless of potential sharing networks’ perceived HIV status.

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  • Hepatitis C and HIV Co-infection

    Posted on January 30th, 2012 TimB No comments

    A significant proportion of HIV positive people in the UK are co-infected with hepatitis C (approximately 83% of HIV positive injecting drug users and 7% of HIV positive gay men). Hepatitis C is an increasingly important cause of illnesses and death amongst  HIV positive people in the era of effective antiretroviral therapy. Addressing HIV/ hepatitis C co-infection must become a strategic priority within health promotion for, and the healthcare of, those groups most at risk.

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  • HIV in injecting drug users in the EU/EEA, following a reported increase of cases in Greece and Romania

    Posted on January 15th, 2012 TimB No comments

    In response to a notified increase in HIV cases among injecting drug users (IDU) in Greece and Romania, the European Commission asked the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in November 2011 to conduct a rapid inquiry among their network of HIV surveillance- and drug focal points to investigate whether such  increases had occurred in other countries. The assessment showed that while most European countries reported no changes in the rate of newly diagnosed cases of HIV or HIV prevalence in IDU in 2011, increases were documented in six countries. Indicators of injecting risk and prevention coverage show a potential risk for increased HIV transmission and future outbreaks in several countries.

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  • Developing Gender-Sensitive Approaches to HIV Prevention among Female Injecting Drug Users

    Posted on November 28th, 2011 TimB No comments

    The project’s goal was to implement the effective harm reduction services for female IDUs and improve the quality of female IDUs’ lives, as measured by their own reports. The Alliance adopted an approach that recognized  gender roles and gendered socialization in the drug using culture and in the society without reinforcing stereotypes  about women or about female IDUs.  In-depth training on gender, which is a new concept for many Ukrainians,  helped give providers a substantive understanding of how gender functions in the society and in their own work  allow them to adjust practices of their own and those of their organizations to deal more effectively with women  and avoid perpetuating negative stereotypes.

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  • Mortality related to drug use in Europe: public health implications

    Posted on November 17th, 2011 TimB No comments

    In recent decades, the overall level of illicit drug use in Europe has risen dramatically, and with it the number of deaths among the drug-using population, in particular among problem drug users. In the 21st century, a considerable share of premature or avoidable mortality among young adults can be attributed to illicit drug overdose, which accounts for an estimated 4% of deaths among those aged 15–39 in Europe (1). These deaths are often related to injecting drug use and, in most cases, involve a combination of substances (Best et al., 2000), but they represent only part of mortality among drug users (2). In addition, a substantial number of deaths are indirectly. related to drug use, such as those from HIV/AIDS related to injecting drug use, accidents, violence and suicides. The high levels of mortality among drug users are a serious cause for concern both at the individual and the societal .

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  • Seven ways to reduce infections among people who inject drugs

    Posted on October 13th, 2011 TimB No comments

    Seven interventions, one aim: no infections among people who inject drugs. In a new guidance document, EU agencies ECDC and the EMCDDA have joined forces to identify seven interventions to reduce and prevent infectious diseases in this vulnerable population. Many European countries have achieved substantial progress in recent years in preventing drug-related infections. Drug injecting, however, remains a major cause of infectious diseases across Europe. The interventions proposed range from the supply of injection equipment, testing and vaccination to the treatment of infections and drug dependence. These are best applied in combination and ideally in the same venue for maximum effect.

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  • Health effects of financial crisis: omens of a Greek tragedy

    Posted on October 10th, 2011 TimB No comments

    Greeks are losing health care access amid dwindling budgets, facing higher risks of HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases, and in some cases, even dying, according to a study released online on Monday by The Lancet medical journal.

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