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1.
Gac. méd. Méx ; 158(2): 115-118, mar.-abr. 2022.
Article in Spanish | WHO COVID, LILACS (Americas) | ID: covidwho-1884918

ABSTRACT

Resumen En 2019, México fue uno de los primeros países en Latinoamérica en comprometer recursos para eliminar la hepatitis C antes de 2030. Un año después de este compromiso, la pandemia mundial de COVID-19 desvió la atención hacia las necesidades inmediatas de salud para combatir la propagación de esta última. Como resultado, los esfuerzos para implementar programas de prevención y manejo de la hepatitis C se suspendieron indefinidamente. Asimismo, las poblaciones con alto riesgo de contraer el virus de la hepatitis C y que representan el mayor peso de la epidemia nacional, como las personas que se inyectan drogas y las personas que viven con infección por el virus de la inmunodeficia humana, permanecen expuestas a disparidades de salud extremas que potencialmente se han exacerbado durante la pandemia de COVID-19. En este artículo discutimos el impacto potencial que la pandemia de COVID-19 ha tenido sobre los esfuerzos de eliminación de la hepatitis C en México y la necesidad urgente de reanudarlos, ya que sin ellos los objetivos de eliminación no se alcanzarán en el país en 2030.


Abstract In 2019, Mexico was one of the first countries in Latin America to commit resources to achieve hepatitis C elimination by 2030. One year after this commitment, the global COVID-19 pandemic diverted attention to address immediate health needs to combat the spread of the disease. As a result, efforts to implement hepatitis C prevention and management programs were indefinitely postponed. Furthermore, populations at high risk of contracting the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and who bear the greatest burden of HCV national epidemic, including people who inject drugs and people who live with human immunodeficiency virus infection, remain exposed to extreme health disparities, which have potentially been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this article, we discuss the potential impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on HCV elimination efforts in Mexico and the urgent need to resume them, since without these efforts, HCV elimination goals are likely not be achieved in the country by 2030.

2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Nov 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852982

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) are vulnerable to acquiring severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We examined correlates of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine hesitancy among PWID in the US-Mexico border region, of whom only 7.6% had received ≥ 1 COVID-19 vaccine dose by September 2021. METHODS: Between October 2020 and September 2021, participants aged ≥ 18 years from San Diego, California, USA, and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, who injected drugs within the last month completed surveys and SARS-CoV-2, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) serologic testing. Logistic regressions with robust standard error estimation via generalized estimating equations identified factors associated with being unsure or unwilling to receive COVID-19 vaccines. RESULTS: Of 393 participants, 266 (67.7%) were willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines and 127 (32.3%) were hesitant (23.4% unwilling and 8.9% unsure). Older participants, those with greater food insecurity, and those with greater concern about acquiring SARS-CoV-2 were more willing to be vaccinated. Higher numbers of chronic health conditions, having access to a smart phone or computer, and citing social media as one's most important source of COVID-19 information were independently associated with vaccine hesitancy. COVID-19-related disinformation was independently associated with vaccine hesitancy (adjusted odds ratio: 1.51 per additional conspiracy theory endorsed; 95% confidence interval: 1.31-1.74). CONCLUSIONS: Nearly one third of people injecting drugs in the US-Mexico border region were COVID-19 vaccine hesitant, which was significantly associated with exposure to social media, disinformation and co-morbidities and inversely associated with food security and high perceived threat of COVID-19. Interventions that improve accurate knowledge of and trust in COVID-19 vaccines are needed in this vulnerable population.

3.
Am J Public Health ; 112(S2): S199-S205, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1779826

ABSTRACT

Objectives. To characterize the effects of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic on the risk environment of people who use drugs (PWUD) in Tijuana, Mexico. Methods. We used intensive participant-observation ethnography among street-based PWUD and key informants, such as frontline physicians and harm reductionists. Results. PWUD described an unprecedented cessation of police violence and extortion during the initial pandemic-related lockdown, though this quickly reversed and police violence worsened. Government-provided housing and medical treatment with methadone were temporarily provided to PWUD in a dedicated clinic, yet only for PWUD with COVID-19 symptoms. Concurrently, non‒COVID-19‒related hospital care became virtually inaccessible, and many PWUD died of untreated, chronic illnesses, such as hepatitis C, and soft-tissue infections. Border closures, decreases in social interaction, and reduced drug and sex tourism resulted in worsening food, income, and housing insecurity for many PWUD. By contrast, potent illicit drugs remained easily accessible in open-air drug markets. Conclusions. The pandemic exacerbated health risks for PWUD but also offered profound glimpses of beneficial structural changes. Efforts are needed in Tijuana and elsewhere to institutionalize positive pandemic-related shifts and ameliorate novel harms for PWUD. (Am J Public Health. 2022;112(S2):S199-S202. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2022.306796).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Users , Anthropology, Cultural , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Mexico/epidemiology , Pandemics
4.
BMJ Glob Health ; 7(3)2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741618

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Migrants, especially those in temporary accommodations like camps and shelters, might be a vulnerable population during the COVID-19 pandemic, but little is known about the impact of the pandemic in these settings in low-income and middle-income countries. We assessed SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity and RNA prevalence, the correlates of seropositivity (emphasising socially determined conditions), and the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic among migrants living in shelters in Tijuana, a city on the Mexico-US border. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, non-probability survey of migrants living in shelters in Tijuana in November-December 2020 and February-April 2021. Participants completed a questionnaire and provided anterior nasal swab and blood samples for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and antibodies (IgG and IgM), respectively. We explored whether SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with sociodemographic and migration-related variables, access to sanitation, protective behaviours and health-related factors. RESULTS: Overall, 481 participants were enrolled, 67.7% from Northern Central America, 55.3% women, mean age 33.2 years. Seven (1.5%) participants had nasal swabs positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and 53.0% were SARS-CoV-2 seropositive. Avoiding public transportation (OR 0.59, 95% CI 0.39 to 0.90) and months living in Tijuana (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.10) were associated with seropositivity. Sleeping on the streets or other risky places and having diabetes were marginally associated with seropositivity. Most participants (90.2%) had experienced some socioeconomic impact of the pandemic (eg, diminished income, job loss). CONCLUSION: Compared with results from other studies conducted in the general population in Mexico at a similar time, migrants living in shelters were at increased risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2, and they suffered considerable adverse socioeconomic impacts as a consequence of the pandemic. Expanded public health and other social support systems are needed to protect migrants from COVID-19 and reduce health inequities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Transients and Migrants , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Mexico/epidemiology , Pandemics , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America ; 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1602536

ABSTRACT

Background People who inject drugs (PWID) are vulnerable to acquiring SARS-CoV-2. We examined correlates of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among PWID in the U.S.-Mexico border region, of whom only 7.6% had received ≥one COVID-19 vaccine dose by September, 2021. Methods Between October, 2020 and September, 2021, participants aged ≥18 years from San Diego, California, USA and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico who injected drugs within the last month completed surveys and SARS-CoV-2, HIV, and HCV serologic testing. Logistic regressions with robust standard error estimation via generalized estimating equations identified factors associated with being unsure or unwilling to receive COVID-19 vaccines). Results Of 393 participants, 266 (67.7%) were willing to receive COVID-19 vaccines and 127 (32.3%) were hesitant (23.4% unwilling and 8.9% unsure). Older participants, those with greater food insecurity, and those with greater concern about acquiring SARS-CoV-2 were more willing to be vaccinated. Higher numbers of chronic health conditions, having access to a smart phone or computer, and citing social media as one’s most important source of COVID-19 information were independently associated with vaccine hesitancy. COVID-19-related disinformation was independently associated with vaccine hesitancy (adjusted odds ratio: 1.51 per additional conspiracy theory endorsed;95% confidence interval: 1.31-1.74). Conclusions Nearly one third of people injecting drugs in the U.S.-Mexico border region were COVID-19 vaccine hesitant, which was significantly associated with exposure to social media, disinformation and co-morbidities and inversely associated with food security and high perceived threat of COVID-19. Interventions that improve accurate knowledge of and trust in COVID-19 vaccines are needed in this vulnerable population.

6.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260286, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528727

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs may be at elevated SARS-CoV-2 risk due to their living conditions and/or exposures when seeking or using drugs. No study to date has reported upon risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection among people who inject drugs. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Between October, 2020 and June, 2021, participants aged ≥18 years from San Diego, California, USA and Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico who injected drugs within the last month underwent interviews and testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and antibodies. Binomial regressions identified correlates of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. RESULTS: Of 386 participants, SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 36.3% (95% CI: 31.5%-41.1%); 92.1% had detectable IgM antibodies. Only 37.5% had previously been tested. Seroprevalence did not differ by country of residence. None tested RNA-positive. Most (89.5%) reported engaging in ≥1 protective behavior [e.g., facemasks (73.5%), social distancing (46.5%), or increasing handwashing/sanitizers (22.8%)]. In a multivariate model controlling for sex, older age, and Hispanic/Latinx/Mexican ethnicity were independently associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity, as was engaging in sex work (AdjRR: 1.63; 95% CI: 1.18-2.27) and having been incarcerated in the past six months (AdjRR: 1.49; 95% CI: 0.97-2.27). Comorbidities and substance using behaviors were not associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. CONCLUSIONS: In this community-based study of people who inject drugs in the San Diego-Tijuana border region, over one third were SARS-CoV-2 seropositive, exceeding estimates from the general population in either city. We found no evidence that substance use behaviors were associated with an elevated risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but observed that circumstances in the risk environment, notably sex work and incarceration, were independently associated with higher SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence. Our findings suggest that a binational policy response to COVID-19 mitigation is warranted beyond the closure of the U.S.-Mexico border. Furthermore, decriminalizing sex work and drug use could reduce the burden of COVID-19 among people who inject drugs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/epidemiology , Drug Users/statistics & numerical data , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Adult , Age Factors , COVID-19/diagnosis , California , Female , Humans , Male , Mexico , Middle Aged , Race Factors , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Socioeconomic Factors
7.
Subst Use Misuse ; 56(14): 2134-2140, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390318

ABSTRACT

Background: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted patients receiving methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) through opioid treatment programs (OTPs), especially because of the unique challenges of the care delivery model. Previously, documentation of patient experiences during emergencies often comes years after the fact, in part because there is a substantial data void in real-time. Methods: We extracted 308 posts that mention COVID-19 keywords on r/methadone, an online community for patients receiving MMT to share information, on Reddit occurring between January 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020. 215 of these posts self-report an impact to their MMT. Using qualitative content analysis, we characterized the impacts described in these posts and identified four emergent themes describing patients' experience of impacts to MMT during COVID-19. Results: The themes included (1) 54.4% of posts reporting impediments to accessing their methadone, (2) 28.4% reporting impediments to accessing physicial OTPs, (3) 19.5% reporting having to self-manage their care, and (4) 4.7% reporting impediments to accessing OTP providers and staff. Conclusions: Patients described unanticipated consequences to one-size-fits-all policies that are unevenly applied resulting in suboptimal dosing, increased perceived risk of acquiring COVID-19 at OTPs, and reduced interaction with OTP providers and staff. While preliminary, these results are formative for follow-up surveillance metrics for patients of OTPs as well as digitally-mediated resource needs for this online community. This study serves as a model of how social media can be employed during and after emergencies to hear the lived experiences of patients for informed emergency preparedness and response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Methadone , Humans , Methadone/therapeutic use , Opiate Substitution Treatment , Patient Outcome Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Self Report
10.
Clin Infect Dis ; 72(11): e828-e834, 2021 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1249293

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Widespread viral and serological testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may present a unique opportunity to also test for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. We estimated the potential impact of adding linked, opt-out HIV testing alongside SARS-CoV-2 testing on the HIV incidence and the cost-effectiveness of this strategy in 6 US cities. METHODS: Using a previously calibrated dynamic HIV transmission model, we constructed 3 sets of scenarios for each city: (1) sustained current levels of HIV-related treatment and prevention services (status quo); (2) temporary disruptions in health services and changes in sexual and injection risk behaviors at discrete levels between 0%-50%; and (3) linked HIV and SARS-CoV-2 testing offered to 10%-90% of the adult population in addition to Scenario 2. We estimated the cumulative number of HIV infections between 2020-2025 and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of linked HIV testing over 20 years. RESULTS: In the absence of linked, opt-out HIV testing, we estimated a total of a 16.5% decrease in HIV infections between 2020-2025 in the best-case scenario (50% reduction in risk behaviors and no service disruptions), and a 9.0% increase in the worst-case scenario (no behavioral change and 50% reduction in service access). We estimated that HIV testing (offered at 10%-90% levels) could avert a total of 576-7225 (1.6%-17.2%) new infections. The intervention would require an initial investment of $20.6M-$220.7M across cities; however, the intervention would ultimately result in savings in health-care costs in each city. CONCLUSIONS: A campaign in which HIV testing is linked with SARS-CoV-2 testing could substantially reduce the HIV incidence and reduce direct and indirect health care costs attributable to HIV.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemics , HIV Infections , Adult , COVID-19 Testing , Cities , Cost-Benefit Analysis , HIV , HIV Infections/diagnosis , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 222: 108680, 2021 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1147689
14.
J Int AIDS Soc ; 23(10): e25632, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-840552

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Key populations at elevated risk to contract or transmit HIV may also be at higher risk of COVID-19 complications and adverse outcomes associated with public health prevention measures. However, the conditions faced by specific populations vary according to social, structural and environmental factors, including stigma and discrimination, criminalization, social and economic safety nets and the local epidemiology of HIV and COVID-19, which determine risk of exposure and vulnerability to adverse health outcomes, as well as the ability to comply with measures such as physical distancing. This commentary identifies common vulnerabilities and cross-cutting themes in terms of the impacts of COVID-19 on key populations before addressing issues and concerns specific to particular populations. DISCUSSION: Cross-cutting themes include direct impacts such as disrupted access to essential medicines, commodities and services such as anti-retroviral treatment, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis, opioid agonist treatment, viral load monitoring, HIV and sexually transmitted infections testing, condoms and syringes. Indirect impacts include significant collateral damage arising from prevention measures which restrict human rights, increase or impose criminal penalties, and expand police powers to target vulnerable and criminalized populations. Significant heterogeneity in the COVID-19 pandemic, the underlying HIV epidemic and the ability of key populations to protect themselves means that people who inject drugs and sex workers face particular challenges, including indirect impacts as a result of police targeting, loss of income and sometimes both. Geographical variations mean that transgender people and men who have sex with men in regions like Africa and the middle east remain criminalized, as well as stigmatized and discriminated against, increasing their vulnerability to adverse outcomes in relation to COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: Disruptions to both licit and illicit supply chains, loss of income and livelihoods and changes in behaviour as a result of lockdowns and physical distancing have the potential to exacerbate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on key populations. While these impacts will vary significantly, human-rights approaches to COVID-19 emergency laws and public health prevention measures that are population-specific and sensitive, will be key to reducing adverse health outcomes and ensuring that no one is left behind.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Sexual and Gender Minorities , Vulnerable Populations , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Homosexuality, Male , Humans , Income , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , Prisoners , Public Health , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Sex Workers , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/prevention & control , Social Stigma , Viral Load
16.
EClinicalMedicine ; 25: 100485, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-702985
18.
EClinicalMedicine ; 23: 100384, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-306039
19.
EClinicalMedicine ; 20: 100289, 2020 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-3333
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