Prevalence of HIV and other infections and correlates of needle and syringe sharing among people who inject drugs in Podgorica, Montenegro: a respondent-driven sampling survey

Dragan Lausevic, Senad Begic, Boban Mugosa, Natasa Terzic, Zoran Vratnica, Itana Labovic, Ivana Bozicevic
Harm Reduction Journal 2015, 12: 2

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) have significantly higher rates of blood borne and sexually transmitted infections due to unsafe injecting practices and risky sexual behaviors.

METHODS: We carried out an HIV bio-behavioral survey using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) in people who use drugs (PWID) in Podgorica, Montenegro in 2013 in order to determine the prevalence of HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and risk behaviors. Data were analyzed using RDS Analyst and SPSS 12.0 to obtain prevalence estimates of key bio-behavioral indicators and assess correlates of needle and syringe sharing using multivariate logistic regression.

RESULTS: A total of 402 PWID were recruited. HIV prevalence was 1.1%, while the prevalence of HCV and HBsAg was 53.0% and 1.4%, respectively. In the multivariate analysis, significant correlates of needle and syringe sharing in the past month were being older than 26 years, female, injecting drugs more than once per day, injecting in parks or on streets, not being able to obtaining free-of-charge sterile needles and syringes and reporting more than four partners in the past 12 months.

CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that the HIV epidemic in PWID in Montenegro might still be at a low level, though the HCV epidemic is well-established.

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