Displaying all 7 publications

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  1. Zelenev A, Li J, Mazhnaya A, Basu S, Altice FL
    Lancet Infect Dis, 2018 02;18(2):215-224.
    PMID: 29153265 DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(17)30676-X
    BACKGROUND: Chronic infections with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV are highly prevalent in the USA and concentrated in people who inject drugs. Treatment as prevention with highly effective new direct-acting antivirals is a prospective HCV elimination strategy. We used network-based modelling to analyse the effect of this strategy in HCV-infected people who inject drugs in a US city.

    METHODS: Five graph models were fit using data from 1574 people who inject drugs in Hartford, CT, USA. We used a degree-corrected stochastic block model, based on goodness-of-fit, to model networks of injection drug users. We simulated transmission of HCV and HIV through this network with varying levels of HCV treatment coverage (0%, 3%, 6%, 12%, or 24%) and varying baseline HCV prevalence in people who inject drugs (30%, 60%, 75%, or 85%). We compared the effectiveness of seven treatment-as-prevention strategies on reducing HCV prevalence over 10 years and 20 years versus no treatment. The strategies consisted of treatment assigned to either a randomly chosen individual who injects drugs or to an individual with the highest number of injection partners. Additional strategies explored the effects of treating either none, half, or all of the injection partners of the selected individual, as well as a strategy based on respondent-driven recruitment into treatment.

    FINDINGS: Our model estimates show that at the highest baseline HCV prevalence in people who inject drugs (85%), expansion of treatment coverage does not substantially reduce HCV prevalence for any treatment-as-prevention strategy. However, when baseline HCV prevalence is 60% or lower, treating more than 120 (12%) individuals per 1000 people who inject drugs per year would probably eliminate HCV within 10 years. On average, assigning treatment randomly to individuals who inject drugs is better than targeting individuals with the most injection partners. Treatment-as-prevention strategies that treat additional network members are among the best performing strategies and can enhance less effective strategies that target the degree (ie, the highest number of injection partners) within the network.

    INTERPRETATION: Successful HCV treatment as prevention should incorporate the baseline HCV prevalence and will achieve the greatest benefit when coverage is sufficiently expanded.

    FUNDING: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

  2. Bojko MJ, Mazhnaya A, Marcus R, Makarenko I, Islam Z, Filippovych S, et al.
    J Subst Abuse Treat, 2016 07;66:37-47.
    PMID: 27211995 DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2016.03.003
    Opioid agonist therapies (OAT) to treat opioid addiction in people who inject drugs (PWID) began in Ukraine in 2004. Scale-up of OAT, however, has been hampered by both low enrollment and high attrition. To better understand the factors influencing OAT retention among PWID in Ukraine, qualitative data from 199 PWIDs were collected during 25 focus groups conducted in five Ukrainian cities from February to April 2013. The experiences of PWID who were currently or previously on OAT or currently trying to access OAT were analyzed to identify entry and retention barriers encountered. Transcribed data were analyzed using a grounded theory approach. Individual beliefs about OAT, particularly misaligned treatment goals between clients and providers, influenced PWID's treatment seeking behaviors. Multiple programmatic and structural issues, including inconvenient hours and treatment site locations, complicated dosing regimens, inflexible medication dispensing guidelines, and mistreatment by clinic and medical staff also strongly influenced OAT retention. Findings suggest the need for both programmatic and policy-level structural changes such as revising legal regulations covering OAT dispensing, formalizing prescription dosing policies and making OAT more available through other sites, including primary care settings as a way to improve treatment retention. Quality improvement interventions that target treatment settings could also be deployed to overcome healthcare delivery barriers. Additional patient education and medical professional development around establishing realistic treatment goals as well as community awareness campaigns that address the myths and fears associated with OAT can be leveraged to overcome individual, family and community-level barriers.
  3. Marcus R, Bojko MJ, Mazhnaya A, Makarenko I, Filippovych S, Dvoriak S, et al.
    J Subst Abuse Treat, 2018 03;86:86-93.
    PMID: 29415856 DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2018.01.003
    Numerous individual barriers, including negative attitudes toward opioid agonist therapies (OAT), have undermined HIV prevention efforts in Ukraine where the epidemic is concentrated in people who inject drugs (PWID). The recent availability of extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), an opioid antagonist, provides new opportunities for treatment and prevention, but little is known about patient preferences. We conducted qualitative analysis using focus groups (FG) of PWID recruited based on OAT experience: currently, previously, and never on OAT in five Ukrainian cities. FG included 199 PWID in 25 focus groups. Focus group transcripts were coded and analyzed using a modified grounded theory approach to identify common themes and domains related to attitudes about and preferences for XR-NTX, relative to other treatments. Interest in XR-NTX was supported if supervised opioid withdrawal and psychological support were assured. Other factors supporting XR-NTX included a focus on younger PWID early in their injection career and motivated for recovery. Perceptions of recovery included not receiving psychoactive medications like methadone or buprenorphine. With more information, XR-NTX could be a viable option for PWID in Ukraine, especially if concerns regarding withdrawal and psychological support are adequately addressed.
  4. Iakunchykova O, Meteliuk A, Zelenev A, Mazhnaya A, Tracy M, Altice FL
    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.

  5. 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.

  6. Madden L, Bojko MJ, Farnum S, Mazhnaya A, Fomenko T, Marcus R, et al.
    PMID: 28957756 DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.07.025
    BACKGROUND: Opioid agonist therapies (OAT) like methadone and buprenorphine maintenance treatment remain markedly under-scaled in Ukraine despite adequate funding. Clinicians and administrators were assembled as part of an implementation science strategy to scale-up OAT using the Network for Improvement of Addiction Treatment (NIATx) approach.

    METHODS: Nominal Group Technique (NGT), a key ingredient of the NIATx toolkit, was directed by three trained coaches within a learning collaborative of 18 OAT clinicians and administrators to identify barriers to increase OAT capacity at the regional "oblast" level, develop solutions, and prioritize local change projects. NGT findings were supplemented from detailed notes collected during the NGT discussion.

    RESULTS: The top three identified barriers included: (1) Strict regulations and inflexible policies dictating distribution and dispensing of OAT; (2) No systematic approach to assessing OAT needs on regional or local level; and (3) Limited funding and financing mechanisms combined with a lack of local/regional control over funding for OAT treatment services.

    CONCLUSIONS: NGT provides a rapid strategy for individuals at multiple levels to work collaboratively to identify and address structural barriers to OAT scale-up. This technique creates a transparent process to address and prioritize complex issues. Targeting these priorities allowed leaders at the regional and national level to advocate collectively for approaches to minimize obstacles and create policies to improve OAT services.

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