Displaying publications 61 - 80 of 93 in total

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  1. Springer SA, Di Paola A, Azar MM, Barbour R, Krishnan A, Altice FL
    Drug Alcohol Depend, 2017 05 01;174:158-170.
    PMID: 28334661 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.01.026
    BACKGROUND: Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are highly prevalent among persons living with HIV (PLH) within the criminal justice system (CJS). Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) has not been previously evaluated among CJS-involved PLH with AUDs.

    METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among 100 HIV+ prisoners with AUDs. Participants were randomized 2:1 to receive 6 monthly injections of XR-NTX or placebo starting one week prior to release. Using multiple imputation strategies for data missing completely at random, data were analyzed for the 6-month post-incarceration period. Main outcomes included: time to first heavy drinking day; number of standardized drinks/drinking day; percent of heavy drinking days; pre- to post-incarceration change in average drinks/day; total number of drinking days; and a composite alcohol improvement score comprised of all 5 parameters.

    RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference overall between treatment arms for time-to-heavy-drinking day. However, participants aged 20-29 years who received XR-NTX had a longer time to first heavy drinking day compared to the placebo group (24.1 vs. 9.5days; p<0.001). There were no statistically significant differences between groups for other individual drinking outcomes. A sub-analysis, however, found participants who received ≥4 XR-NTX were more likely (p<0.005) to have improved composite alcohol scores than the placebo group. Post-hoc power analysis revealed that despite the study being powered for HIV outcomes, sufficient power (0.94) was available to distinguish the observed differences.

    CONCLUSIONS: Among CJS-involved PLH with AUDs transitioning to the community, XR-NTX lengthens the time to heavy drinking day for younger persons; reduces alcohol consumption when using a composite alcohol consumption score; and is not associated with any serious adverse events.

  2. Rozanova J, Morozova O, Azbel L, Bachireddy C, Izenberg JM, Kiriazova T, et al.
    J Urban Health, 2018 08;95(4):508-522.
    PMID: 29728898 DOI: 10.1007/s11524-018-0256-4
    Facing competing demands with limited resources following release from prison, people who inject drugs (PWID) may neglect health needs, with grave implications including relapse, overdose, and non-continuous care. We examined the relative importance of health-related tasks after release compared to tasks of everyday life among a total sample of 577 drug users incarcerated in Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan. A proxy measure of whether participants identified a task as applicable (easy or hard) versus not applicable was used to determine the importance of each task. Correlates of the importance of health-related reentry tasks were analyzed using logistic regression, with a parsimonious model being derived using Bayesian lasso method. Despite all participants having substance use disorders and high prevalence of comorbidities, participants in all three countries prioritized finding a source of income, reconnecting with family, and staying out of prison over receiving treatment for substance use disorders, general health conditions, and initiating methadone treatment. Participants with poorer general health were more likely to prioritize treatment for substance use disorders. While prior drug injection and opioid agonist treatment (OAT) correlated with any interest in methadone in all countries, only in Ukraine did a small number of participants prioritize getting methadone as the most important post-release task. While community-based OAT is available in all three countries and prison-based OAT only in Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz prisoners were less likely to choose help staying off drugs and getting methadone. Overall, prisoners consider methadone treatment inapplicable to their pre-release planning. Future studies that involve patient decision-making and scale-up of OAT within prison settings are needed to better improve individual and public health.
  3. Iakunchykova O, Meteliuk A, Zelenev A, Mazhnaya A, Tracy M, Altice FL
    Int. J. Drug Policy, 2018 07;57:11-17.
    PMID: 29655101 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.03.022
    BACKGROUND: Among the estimated 340,000 people who inject drugs (PWID) in Ukraine, HCV prevalence is approximately 70%. As HCV treatment availability increases, an assessment of the HCV treatment cascade is needed to guide HCV prevention and treatment strategies.

    METHODS: Opioid dependent PWID were interviewed and tested for HIV and HCV in five Ukrainian cities from January 2014 to March 2015. Logistic regression was used to examine the independent correlates of two cascade steps: a) anti-HCV positive status awareness; b) chronic HCV confirmation; and of c) annual HCV testing for PWID.

    RESULTS: Among 1613 PWID, 1002 (62.1%) had anti-HCV positive test result, of which 568 (56.7%) were aware of it before the study and 346 (34.5%) reported previous confirmatory testing for chronic HCV. Independent correlates of being aware they had anti-HCV positivity included: current [AOR: 3.08; 95%CI: 2.16-4.40] or prior [AOR: 1.85; 95%CI: 1.27-2.68] opioid agonistic treatment (OAT) experience, relative to no prior OAT, living in Lviv [AOR: 0.50; 95%CI: 0.31-0.81] or Odesa [AOR: 2.73; 95%CI: 1.51-4.93] relative to Kyiv and being aware of having HIV [AOR: 4.10; 95%CI: 2.99-5.62]. Independent correlates of confirming HCV infection among those who were aware of their anti-HCV positive status included: current OAT [AOR: 2.00; 95%CI: 1.24-3.23], relative to prior OAT, the middle income category [AOR: 1.74, 95%CI: 1.15-2.63], relative to the lowest, and receiving ART [AOR: 4.54; 95%CI: 2.85-7.23]. Among 1613 PWID, 918 (56.9%) were either HCV negative or not aware of their HCV positive status, of which 198 (21.6%) reported recent anti-HCV test (during last 12 month). Recent anti-HCV test in this group was associated with current [AOR: 7.17; 95%CI: 4.63-11.13] or prior [AOR: 2.24; 95%CI: 1.32-3.81] OAT experience, relative to no prior OAT.

    CONCLUSION: Encouraging PWID to participate in OAT may be an effective strategy to diagnose and link PWID who are HCV positive to care. Among HIV negative participants, regular HCV testing may be ensured by participation in OAT. More studies are needed to assess HCV treatment utilization among PWID in Ukraine and OAT as a possible way to retain them in treatment.

  4. Loeliger KB, Altice FL, Desai MM, Ciarleglio MM, Gallagher C, Meyer JP
    Lancet HIV, 2018 02;5(2):e96-e106.
    PMID: 29191440 DOI: 10.1016/S2352-3018(17)30209-6
    BACKGROUND: Incarceration provides an opportunity for engagement in HIV care but is associated with poor HIV treatment outcomes after release. We aimed to assess post-release linkage to HIV care (LTC) and the effect of transitional case management services.

    METHODS: To create a retrospective cohort of all adults with HIV released from jails and prisons in Connecticut, USA (2007-14), we linked administrative custody and pharmacy databases with mandatory HIV/AIDS surveillance monitoring and case management data. We examined time to LTC (defined as first viral load measurement after release) and viral suppression at LTC. We used generalised estimating equations to show predictors of LTC within 14 days and 30 days of release.

    FINDINGS: Among 3302 incarceration periods for 1350 individuals between 2007 and 2014, 672 (21%) of 3181 periods had LTC within 14 days of release, 1042 (34%) of 3064 had LTC within 30 days of release, and 301 (29%) of 1042 had detectable viral loads at LTC. Factors positively associated with LTC within 14 days of release are intermediate (31-364 days) incarceration duration (adjusted odds ratio 1·52; 95% CI 1·19-1·95), and transitional case management (1·65; 1·36-1·99), receipt of antiretroviral therapy during incarceration (1·39; 1·11-1·74), and two or more medical comorbidities (1·86; 1·48-2·36). Reincarceration (0·70; 0·56-0·88) and conditional release (0·62; 0·50-0·78) were negatively associated with LTC within 14 days. Hispanic ethnicity, bonded release, and psychiatric comorbidity were also associated with LTC within 30 days but reincarceration was not.

    INTERPRETATION: LTC after release is suboptimal but improves when inmates' medical, psychiatric, and case management needs are identified and addressed before release. People who are rapidly cycling through jail facilities are particularly vulnerable to missed linkage opportunities. The use of integrated programmes to align justice and health-care goals has great potential to improve long-term HIV treatment outcomes.

    FUNDING: US National Institutes of Health.

  5. Lim SH, Akbar M, Wickersham JA, Kamarulzaman A, Altice FL
    Int. J. Drug Policy, 2018 05;55:256-262.
    PMID: 29605540 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.02.019
    BACKGROUND: The intentional use of illicit drugs for sexual purposes (also known as 'chemsex') is well known within the MSM communities in Malaysia although research in this population is scarce primarily because both drug use and homosexuality are illegal and stigmatised in Malaysia.

    METHODS: From April to December 2014, interviews were conducted with twenty men (age range 21-43) living in Greater Kuala Lumpur who had sexual intercourse with other men in the past 6 months and who used illicit drugs at least monthly in the past 3 months. Fourteen men were recruited via gay social networking smartphone applications or websites while six were referred by the participants. Data were analsed using thematic analytic approach.

    FINDINGS: The average duration of illicit drug use was 6.4 years (range 1-21) and all participants were using methamphetamine ("ice" or crystal meth) with frequency of use ranged from daily to once a month. Participants came from diverse ethnic, economic, and occupational backgrounds. Most participants used an inhalation apparatus ("bong") to consume methamphetamine and injection was rare in the sample. The primary motivation of methamphetamine use was to increase sexual capacity, heighten sexual pleasure and enhance sexual exploration and adventurism. Socializing with friends ("chilling"), and increased energy for work were secondary motivations. Participants emphasized the need to control the use of methamphetamine and some have established rules to control the amount and duration of use and a minority of men have maintained condom use during anal sex while under the influence of methamphetamine. Participants who professed to be in control of their drug use characterized themselves as functional users regardless of the health and social consequences from continuing use. Overall, participants perceived themselves differently from the traditional opioid users and reported limited access to sexual health and substance use treatment services.

    CONCLUSION: There is a need to increase access to HIV prevention services such as PrEP and PEP, professional support, and substance abuse treatment for drug-using MSM. A more open and friendly environment towards drug-using MSM may help them access and engage with the health services.

  6. Loeliger KB, Meyer JP, Desai MM, Ciarleglio MM, Gallagher C, Altice FL
    PLoS Med., 2018 10;15(10):e1002667.
    PMID: 30300351 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1002667
    BACKGROUND: Sustained retention in HIV care (RIC) and viral suppression (VS) are central to US national HIV prevention strategies, but have not been comprehensively assessed in criminal justice (CJ) populations with known health disparities. The purpose of this study is to identify predictors of RIC and VS following release from prison or jail.

    METHODS AND FINDINGS: This is a retrospective cohort study of all adult people living with HIV (PLWH) incarcerated in Connecticut, US, during the period January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2011, and observed through December 31, 2014 (n = 1,094). Most cohort participants were unmarried (83.7%) men (77.0%) who were black or Hispanic (78.1%) and acquired HIV from injection drug use (72.6%). Prison-based pharmacy and custody databases were linked with community HIV surveillance monitoring and case management databases. Post-release RIC declined steadily over 3 years of follow-up (67.2% retained for year 1, 51.3% retained for years 1-2, and 42.5% retained for years 1-3). Compared with individuals who were not re-incarcerated, individuals who were re-incarcerated were more likely to meet RIC criteria (48% versus 34%; p < 0.001) but less likely to have VS (72% versus 81%; p = 0.048). Using multivariable logistic regression models (individual-level analysis for 1,001 individuals after excluding 93 deaths), both sustained RIC and VS at 3 years post-release were independently associated with older age (RIC: adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.61, 95% CI = 1.22-2.12; VS: AOR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.06-1.78), having health insurance (RIC: AOR = 2.15, 95% CI = 1.60-2.89; VS: AOR = 2.01, 95% CI = 1.53-2.64), and receiving an increased number of transitional case management visits. The same factors were significant when we assessed RIC and VS outcomes in each 6-month period using generalized estimating equations (for 1,094 individuals contributing 6,227 6-month periods prior to death or censoring). Additionally, receipt of antiretroviral therapy during incarceration (RIC: AOR = 1.33, 95% CI 1.07-1.65; VS: AOR = 1.91, 95% CI = 1.56-2.34), early linkage to care post-release (RIC: AOR = 2.64, 95% CI = 2.03-3.43; VS: AOR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.45-2.21), and absolute time and proportion of follow-up time spent re-incarcerated were highly correlated with better treatment outcomes. Limited data were available on changes over time in injection drug use or other substance use disorders, psychiatric disorders, or housing status.

    CONCLUSIONS: In a large cohort of CJ-involved PLWH with a 3-year post-release evaluation, RIC diminished significantly over time, but was associated with HIV care during incarceration, health insurance, case management services, and early linkage to care post-release. While re-incarceration and conditional release provide opportunities to engage in care, reducing recidivism and supporting community-based RIC efforts are key to improving longitudinal treatment outcomes among CJ-involved PLWH.

  7. Springer SA, Di Paola A, Barbour R, Azar MM, Altice FL
    J. Acquir. Immune Defic. Syndr., 2018 09 01;79(1):92-100.
    PMID: 29781884 DOI: 10.1097/QAI.0000000000001759
    OBJECTIVE: To determine whether extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX) would improve or maintain viral suppression (VS) among incarcerated individuals with HIV and alcohol use disorders (AUDs) transitioning to the community.

    DESIGN: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted among incarcerated individuals with HIV and AUDs transitioning to the community from 2010 through 2016.

    METHODS: Eligible participants (N = 100) were randomized 2:1 to receive 6 monthly injections of XR-NTX (n = 67) or placebo (n = 33) starting at release and continued for 6 months. The primary and secondary outcomes were the proportion that maintained or improved VS at <200 and <50 copies per milliliter from baseline to 6 months, respectively, using an intention-to-treat analysis.

    RESULTS: Participants allocated to XR-NTX improved VS from baseline to 6 months for <200 copies per milliliter (48.0%-64.2%, P = 0.024) and for <50 copies per milliliter (31.0%-56.7%, P = 0.001), whereas the placebo group did not (<200 copies/mL: 64%-42.4%, P = 0.070; <50 copies/mL: 42.0%-30.3%, P = 0.292). XR-NTX participants were more likely to achieve VS than the placebo group at 6 months (<200 copies/mL: 64.2% vs. 42.4%; P = 0.041; <50 copies/mL: 56.7% vs. 30.3%; P = 0.015). XR-NTX independently predicted VS [<200 copies/mL: adjusted odds ratio (aOR) = 2.68, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.01 to 7.09, P = 0.047; <50 copies/mL: aOR = 4.54; 95% CI = 1.43 to 14.43, P = 0.009] as did receipt of ≥3 injections (<200 copies/mL: aOR = 3.26; 95% CI = 1.26 to 8.47, P = 0.010; <50 copies/mL: aOR = 6.34; 95% CI = 2.08 to 19.29, P = 0.001). Reductions in alcohol consumption (aOR = 1.43, 95% CI = 1.03 to 1.98, P = 0.033) and white race (aOR = 5.37, 95% CI = 1.08 to 27.72, P = 0.040) also predicted VS at <50 copies per milliliter.

    CONCLUSIONS: XR-NTX improves or maintains VS after release to the community for incarcerated people living with HIV and AUDs.

  8. Lim SH, Brown SE, Shaw SA, Kamarulzaman A, Altice FL, Beyrer C
    J Homosex, 2020;67(1):104-126.
    PMID: 30307803 DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2018.1525946
    Malay-Muslim men who have sex with men (MSM) are marginalized and hidden in Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country in southeast Asia. We explored the policy, network, community, and individual factors related to HIV infection among Malay-Muslim MSM through 26 in-depth interviews and one focus group discussion (n = 5) conducted in Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu between October 2013 and January 2014. As religion plays an important role in their lives, participants viewed homosexuality as a sin. Low risk perception and misconceptions about HIV/AIDS were common, and most participants expressed reluctance to consult a doctor unless they had symptoms. Additionally, buying condoms was embarrassing and anxiety-producing. Fear of discrimination by health care providers and community hindered participants from disclosing sexual behaviors and accessing health services. Homophobic comments and policies by the government and religious leaders were concerns of participants. A safe and enabling environment is needed to reduce HIV risks among Malay-Muslim MSM.
  9. Rutledge R, Morozova O, Gibson BA, Altice FL, Kamarulzaman A, Wickersham JA
    LGBT Health, 2018 11 27;5(8):484-493.
    PMID: 30481120 DOI: 10.1089/lgbt.2018.0021
    PURPOSE: In Malaysia, an estimated 9.7%-12.4% of transgender women (TW) are HIV positive, with higher estimates among those engaged in sex work. According to the 90-90-90 Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS strategy, HIV testing is the first crucial step in curbing the HIV epidemic. This study examines correlates of recent HIV testing among TW in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

    METHODS: TW (N = 199) in Greater Kuala Lumpur completed a survey on healthcare access and utilization, including HIV testing history. Bivariate logistic regression and penalized multivariate logistic regression were used to explore correlates of HIV testing in the last 12 months.

    RESULTS: Overall, 41.7% of TW reported having ever been tested for HIV. Among participants who were HIV negative or not sure of their HIV status (n = 187), only 18.7% (n = 35) had been tested for HIV in the last 12 months. The multivariate analysis indicated that having a primary care provider (PCP), being 26-40 years of age, and having higher mental health functioning were positively associated with recent HIV testing. Active amphetamine use and previous depression diagnosis were also associated with recent HIV testing.

    CONCLUSION: HIV testing is the first step in linking individuals to prevention and treatment interventions. Our findings suggest that having a PCP can improve engagement in HIV testing. Moreover, PCPs can serve as a valuable link to HIV treatment and prevention services. Current interventions that target social and behavioral risk factors for HIV, on their own, may be insufficient at engaging all HIV-vulnerable TW.

  10. Tee YC, Earnshaw VA, Altice FL, Jin H, Kamarulzaman A, Wickersham JA
    AIDS Behav, 2019 Apr;23(4):1039-1047.
    PMID: 30560483 DOI: 10.1007/s10461-018-2362-4
    People with HIV (PWH) in Malaysia experience high levels of stigma, which may act as a barrier to accessing healthcare. Stigma against PWH in medical settings is understudied in Malaysia. In the present study, we examine factors associated with physicians' intention to discriminate against PWH in Malaysia. A cross-sectional online survey was emailed to all 1431 physicians at two major university hospitals in Malaysia; 568 (39.6%) participants completed the survey and were included in this analysis. Measures included intention to discriminate against PWH, stigma-related constructs, and socio-demographic characteristics. Multivariate linear regression was used to identify factors associated with intention to discriminate against PWH. Participants were comprised of women (53.5%), Malays (43.1%), and Chinese (35.0%) with nearly 10 years of clinical experience. Most participants were from non-surgical specialties (77.6%). The final multivariate linear regression showed that physicians who expressed greater discriminatory intent against PWH also expressed more negative feelings toward PWH, more HIV-related shame, were more fearful of HIV, and believed that PWH do not deserve good care. Physicians from surgical-based specialties were also significantly more likely to endorse discriminatory intent toward PWH. Stigma and intentions to discriminate against a class of patients, including PWH, can undermine engagement in care, which is central to international HIV prevention and treatment strategies. Interventions that reduce stigma toward PWH among physicians are crucial to ensuring equitable and stigma-free healthcare.
  11. Culbert GJ, Waluyo A, Wang M, Putri TA, Bazazi AR, Altice FL
    AIDS Behav, 2019 Aug;23(8):2048-2058.
    PMID: 30465106 DOI: 10.1007/s10461-018-2344-6
    With adequate support, people with HIV (PWH) may achieve high levels of adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) during incarceration. We examined factors associated with ART utilization and adherence among incarcerated PWH (N = 150) in Indonesia. ART utilization was positively associated with HIV status disclosure (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 5.5, 95% CI 1.2-24.1, p = 0.023), drug dependency (aOR = 3.9, 95% CI 1.2-12.6, p = 0.022), health service satisfaction (aOR = 3.2, 95% CI 1.7-6.2, p 
  12. Chandra DK, Bazazi AR, Nahaboo Solim MA, Kamarulzaman A, Altice FL, Culbert GJ
    HIV Res Clin Pract, 2019 Feb;20(1):12-23.
    PMID: 31303149 DOI: 10.1080/15284336.2019.1603433
    Background: Study retention is a major challenge in HIV clinical trials conducted with persons recruited from correctional facilities. Objective: To examine study retention in a trial of within-prison methadone initiation and a behavioral intervention among incarcerated men with HIV and opioid dependence in Malaysia. Methods: In this 2x2 factorial trial, 296 incarcerated men with HIV and opioid dependence were allocated to (1) an HIV risk reduction intervention, the Holistic Health Recovery Program for Malaysia (HHRP-M), (2) pre-release methadone initiation, (3) both interventions, or (4) standard care (NCT02396979). Here we estimate effects of these interventions on linkage to the study after prison release and completion of post-release study visits. Results: Most participants (68.9%) completed at least one post-release study visit but few (18.6%) completed all 12. HHRP-M was associated with a 13.5% (95% confidence interval (CI): 3.8%, 23.2%) increased probability of completing at least one post-release study visit. Although not associated with initial linkage, methadone treatment was associated with an 11% (95% CI: 2.0%, 20.6%) increased probability of completing all twelve post-release study visits. Being subject to forced relocation outside Kuala Lumpur after prison release decreased retention by 43.3% (95% CI: -51.9%, -34.8%). Conclusion: Retaining study participants in HIV clinical trials following prison release is challenging and potentially related to the broader challenges that participants experience during community reentry. Researchers conducting clinical trials with this population may want to consider methadone and HHRP as means to improve post-release retention, even in clinical trials where these interventions are not being directly evaluated.
  13. Morozova O, Crawford FW, Cohen T, Paltiel AD, Altice FL
    Addiction, 2020 Mar;115(3):437-450.
    PMID: 31478285 DOI: 10.1111/add.14797
    BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Although opioid agonist treatment (OAT) for opioid use disorder (OUD) is cost-effective in settings where the HIV epidemic is concentrated among people who inject drugs, OAT coverage in Ukraine remains far below internationally recommended targets. Scale-up is limited by both OAT availability and demand. This study aimed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of a range of plausible OAT scale-up strategies in Ukraine incorporating the potential impact of treatment spillover and the real-world demand for addiction treatment.

    DESIGN, SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Ten-year horizon (2016-25) modeling study of opioid addiction epidemic and treatment that accommodated potential peer effects in opioid use initiation and supply-induced treatment demand in three Ukrainian cities: Kyiv, Mykolaiv and Lviv, comprising a simulated population of people at risk of and with OUD.

    MEASUREMENTS: Incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained in the simulated population.

    FINDINGS: An estimated 12.2-, 2.4- and 13.4-fold OAT capacity increase over 2016 baseline capacity in Kyiv, Mykolaiv and Lviv, respectively, would be cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay of one per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) per quality-adjusted life-year gained. This result is robust to parametric and structural uncertainty. Even under the most ambitious capacity increase, OAT coverage (i.e. the proportion of people with OUD receiving OAT) over a 10-year modeling horizon would be 20, 11 and 17% in Kyiv, Mykolaiv and Lviv, respectively, owing to limited demand.

    CONCLUSIONS: It is estimated that a substantial increase in opioid agonist treatment (OAT) capacity in three Ukrainian cities would be cost-effective for a wide range of willingness-to-pay thresholds. Even a very ambitious capacity increase, however, is unlikely to reach internationally recommended coverage levels. Further increases in coverage may be limited by demand and would require addressing existing structural barriers to OAT access.

  14. Ghani MA, Brown SE, Khan F, Wickersham JA, Lim SH, Dhaliwal SK, et al.
    Int. J. Drug Policy, 2015 Feb;26(2):175-82.
    PMID: 25577322 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.10.002
    BACKGROUND: In Malaysia, compulsory drug detention centres (CDDCs) hold suspected drug users for two years without adjudication. Acute detoxification without healthcare access has been documented. CDDCs are criticized globally due to ineffectiveness in treating addiction and human rights violations. In response, the Malaysian government began transitioning these facilities into voluntary drug treatment centres known as "Cure and Care" (C&C) centres that embrace a holistic treatment-based approach to drug addiction rehabilitation.

    METHODS: An explorative qualitative study was undertaken to explore patient perspectives and satisfaction regarding treatment and services at the new Cure and Care centre in Kota Bharu, Malaysia. A convenience sample of 20 patients was recruited to participate in semi-structured in-depth interviews. Content analysis was used to identify the salient themes.

    RESULTS: Patients identified methadone treatment, psychosocial programs, religious instruction, and recreational activities as important factors contributing to treatment success for addressing both health and addiction needs. Though many had previously been in a CDDC, adherence to treatment in the C&C centre was perceived to be facilitated by the degree of social support, the voluntary nature and the array of new programs available for selection.

    CONCLUSION: C&Cs represents a dramatic shift in the Malaysian government's approach to drug addiction. Our findings demonstrate positive patient experiences associated with the holistic treatment-based approach of these centres. This exploratory study provides additional evidence to document this ongoing policy transition and may guide continued expansion of new holistic drug treatment programs across the country.

  15. Al-Darraji HA, Wong KC, Yeow DG, Fu JJ, Loeliger K, Paiji C, et al.
    J Subst Abuse Treat, 2014 Feb;46(2):144-9.
    PMID: 24074846 DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2013.08.023
    People who use drugs (PWUD) represent a key high risk group for tuberculosis (TB). The prevalence of both latent TB infection (LTBI) and active disease in drug treatment centers in Malaysia is unknown. A cross-sectional convenience survey was conducted to assess the prevalence and correlates of LTBI among attendees at a recently created voluntary drug treatment center using a standardized questionnaire and tuberculin skin testing (TST). Participants (N=196) were mostly men (95%), under 40 (median age=36 years) and reported heroin use immediately before treatment entry (75%). Positive TST prevalence was 86.7%. Nine (4.6%) participants were HIV-infected. Previous arrest/incarcerations (AOR=1.1 for every entry, p<0.05) and not being HIV-infected (AOR=6.04, p=0.03) were significantly associated with TST positivity. There is an urgent need to establish TB screening and treatment programs in substance abuse treatment centers and to tailor service delivery to the complex treatment needs of patients with multiple medical and psychiatric co-morbidities.
  16. Culbert GJ, Bazazi AR, Waluyo A, Murni A, Muchransyah AP, Iriyanti M, et al.
    AIDS Behav, 2016 05;20(5):1026-38.
    PMID: 26400080 DOI: 10.1007/s10461-015-1198-4
    Negative attitudes toward HIV medications may restrict utilization of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Indonesian prisons where many people living with HIV (PLH) are diagnosed and first offered ART. This mixed-method study examines the influence of medication attitudes on ART utilization among HIV-infected Indonesian prisoners. Randomly-selected HIV-infected male prisoners (n = 102) completed face-to-face in-depth interviews and structured surveys assessing ART attitudes. Results show that although half of participants utilized ART, a quarter of those meeting ART eligibility guidelines did not. Participants not utilizing ART endorsed greater concerns about ART efficacy, safety, and adverse effects, and more certainty that ART should be deferred in PLH who feel healthy. In multivariate analyses, ART utilization was independently associated with more positive ART attitudes (AOR = 1.09, 95 % CI 1.03-1.16, p = 0.002) and higher internalized HIV stigma (AOR = 1.03, 95 % CI 1.00-1.07, p = 0.016). Social marketing of ART is needed to counteract negative ART attitudes that limit ART utilization among Indonesian prisoners.
  17. Azbel L, Polonsky M, Wegman M, Shumskaya N, Kurmanalieva A, Asanov A, et al.
    Int. J. Drug Policy, 2016 11;37:9-20.
    PMID: 27455177 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.06.007
    BACKGROUND: Central Asia is afflicted with increasing HIV incidence, low antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage and increasing AIDS mortality, driven primarily by people who inject drugs (PWID). Reliable data about HIV, other infectious diseases, and substance use disorders in prisoners in this region is lacking and could provide important insights into how to improve HIV prevention and treatment efforts in the region.

    METHODS: A randomly sampled, nationwide biobehavioural health survey was conducted in 8 prisons in Kyrgyzstan among all soon-to-be-released prisoners; women were oversampled. Consented participants underwent computer-assisted, standardized behavioural health assessment surveys and testing for HIV, HCV, HBV, and syphilis. Prevalence and means were computed, and generalized linear modelling was conducted, with all analyses using weights to account for disproportionate sampling by strata.

    RESULTS: Among 381 prisoners who underwent consent procedures, 368 (96.6%) were enrolled in the study. Women were significantly older than men (40.6 vs. 36.5; p=0.004). Weighted prevalence (%), with confidence interval (CI), for each infection was high: HCV (49.7%; CI: 44.8-54.6%), syphilis (19.2%; CI: 15.1-23.5%), HIV (10.3%; CI: 6.9-13.8%), and HBV (6.2%; CI: 3.6-8.9%). Among the 31 people with HIV, 46.5% were aware of being HIV-infected. Men, compared to women, were significantly more likely to have injected drugs (38.3% vs.16.0%; p=0.001). Pre-incarceration and within-prison drug injection, primarily of opioids, was 35.4% and 30.8%, respectively. Independent correlates of HIV infection included lifetime drug injection (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=38.75; p=0.001), mean number of years injecting (AOR=0.93; p=0.018), mean number of days experiencing drug problems (AOR=1.09; p=0.025), increasing duration of imprisonment (AOR=1.08; p=0.02 for each year) and having syphilis (AOR=3.51; p=0.003), while being female (AOR=3.06; p=0.004) and being a recidivist offender (AOR=2.67; p=0.008) were independently correlated with syphilis infection.

    CONCLUSION: Drug injection, syphilis co-infection, and exposure to increased risk during incarceration are likely to be important contributors to HIV transmission among prisoners in Kyrgyzstan. Compared to the community, HIV is concentrated 34-fold higher in prisoners. A high proportion of undiagnosed syphilis and HIV infections presents a significant gap in the HIV care continuum. Findings highlight the critical importance of evidence-based responses within prison, including enhanced testing for HIV and sexually transmitted infections, to stem the evolving HIV epidemic in the region.

  18. Kamarulzaman A, Reid SE, Schwitters A, Wiessing L, El-Bassel N, Dolan K, et al.
    Lancet, 2016 Sep 10;388(10049):1115-1126.
    PMID: 27427456 DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30769-3
    The prevalence of HIV, hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and tuberculosis are higher in prisons than in the general population in most countries worldwide. Prisons have emerged as a risk environment for these infections to be further concentrated, amplified, and then transmitted to the community after prisoners are released. In the absence of alternatives to incarceration, prisons and detention facilities could be leveraged to promote primary and secondary prevention strategies for these infections to improve prisoners health and reduce risk throughout incarceration and on release. Effective treatment of opioid use disorders with opioid agonist therapies (eg, methadone and buprenorphine) prevents blood-borne infections via reductions in injection in prison and after release. However, large gaps exist in the implementation of these strategies across all regions. Collaboration between the criminal justice and public health systems will be required for successful implementation of these strategies.
  19. Khan F, Krishnan A, Ghani MA, Wickersham JA, Fu JJ, Lim SH, et al.
    Subst Use Misuse, 2018 01 28;53(2):249-259.
    PMID: 28635521 DOI: 10.1080/10826084.2016.1267217
    BACKGROUND: As part of an ongoing initiative by the Malaysian government to implement alternative approaches to involuntary detention of people who use drugs, the National Anti-Drug Agency has created new voluntary drug treatment programs known as Cure and Care (C&C) Centers that provide free access to addiction treatment services, including methadone maintenance therapy, integrated with social and health services.

    OBJECTIVES: We evaluated early treatment outcomes and client satisfaction among patients accessing C&C treatment and ancillary services at Malaysia's second C&C Center located in Kota Bharu, Kelantan.

    METHODS: In June-July 2012, a cross-sectional convenience survey of 96 C&C inpatients and outpatients who entered treatment >30 days previously was conducted to assess drug use, criminal justice experience, medical co-morbidities, motivation for seeking treatment, and attitudes towards the C&C. Drug use was compared for the 30-day-period before C&C entry and the 30-day-period before the interview.

    RESULTS: Self-reported drug use levels decreased significantly among both inpatient and outpatient clients after enrolling in C&C treatment. Higher levels of past drug use, lower levels of social support, and more severe mental health issues were reported by participants who were previously imprisoned. Self-reported satisfaction with C&C treatment services was high. Conclusions/Importance: Preliminary evidence of reduced drug use and high levels of client satisfaction among C&C clients provide support for Malaysia's ongoing transition from compulsory drug detention centers (CDDCs) to these voluntary drug treatment centers. If C&C centers are successful, Malaysia plans to gradually transition away from CDDCs entirely.
  20. Marcus R, Makarenko I, Mazhnaya A, Zelenev A, Polonsky M, Madden L, et al.
    Drug Alcohol Depend, 2017 10 01;179:213-219.
    PMID: 28806638 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2017.07.010
    BACKGROUND: Scaling up HIV prevention for people who inject drugs (PWID) using opioid agonist therapies (OAT) in Ukraine has been restricted by individual and structural factors. Extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), however, provides new opportunities for treating opioid use disorders (OUDs) in this region, where both HIV incidence and mortality continue to increase.

    METHODS: Survey results from 1613 randomly selected PWID from 5 regions in Ukraine who were currently, previously or never on OAT were analyzed for their preference of pharmacological therapies for treating OUDs. For those preferring XR-NTX, independent correlates of their willingness to initiate XR-NTX were examined.

    RESULTS: Among the 1613 PWID, 449 (27.8%) were interested in initiating XR-NTX. Independent correlates associated with interest in XR-NTX included: being from Mykolaiv (AOR=3.7, 95% CI=2.3-6.1) or Dnipro (AOR=1.8, 95% CI=1.1-2.9); never having been on OAT (AOR=3.4, 95% CI=2.1-5.4); shorter-term injectors (AOR=0.9, 95% CI 0.9-0.98); and inversely for both positive (AOR=0.8, CI=0.8-0.9), and negative attitudes toward OAT (AOR=1.3, CI=1.2-1.4), respectively.

    CONCLUSIONS: In the context of Eastern Europe and Central Asia where HIV is concentrated in PWID and where HIV prevention with OAT is under-scaled, new options for treating OUDs are urgently needed.

    FINDINGS: here suggest that XR-NTX could become an option for addiction treatment and HIV prevention especially for PWID who have shorter duration of injection and who harbor negative attitudes to OAT. Decision aids that inform patient preferences with accurate information about the various treatment options are likely to guide patients toward better, patient-centered treatments and improve treatment entry and retention.

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