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1.
Harm Reduct J ; 19(1): 59, 2022 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875013

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) may be at elevated risk of adverse outcomes from SARS-CoV-2 infection; however, data on COVID-19 vaccine uptake among PWID are scarce. This study aimed to determine COVID-19 vaccine uptake among PWID, identify factors associated with sub-optimal uptake, and compare uptake to the general population. METHODS: The Australian Needle Syringe Program Survey is an annual sentinel surveillance project, comprising a self-completed questionnaire and provision of a dried blood sample for HIV and HCV testing. In 2021, respondents provided information on their COVID-19 vaccination status. Multivariate logistic regression models identified correlates of vaccine uptake. RESULTS: Among 1166 respondents, 49% had been vaccinated and in most states and territories, vaccine uptake was significantly lower than among the general population. Independent predictors of vaccine uptake were longer duration of vaccine eligibility (AOR 3.42, 95% CI 2.65, 4.41); prior SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing (AOR 2.90, 95% CI 2.22, 3.79); injection of opioids (AOR 1.91, 95% CI 1.20, 3.05); and current opioid agonist therapy (AOR 1.70, 95% CI 1.23, 2.33). Women (AOR 0.70, 95% CI 0.54, 0.92) and those who reported daily or more frequent injection (AOR 0.75, 95% CI 0.57, 1.00) were significantly less likely to be vaccinated. CONCLUSIONS: In most Australian states and territories, uptake of COVID-19 vaccine among PWID lagged uptake among the general population. Increased efforts are required to ensure PWID have equitable access to vaccination. Vaccination programmes within harm reduction services and via outreach, coupled with increased support for peers to act as vaccine champions, are likely to reduce barriers and improve COVID-19 vaccine uptake in this population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Users , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Female , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Vaccination
2.
Harm Reduct J ; 19(1): 47, 2022 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854809

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) exacerbated risks for adverse health consequences among people who inject drugs by reducing access to sterile injection equipment, HIV testing, and syringe services programs (SSPs). Several decades of research demonstrate the public health benefits of SSP implementation; however, existing evidence primarily reflects studies conducted in metropolitan areas and before the COVID-19 pandemic. OBJECTIVES: We aim to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic affected SSP operations in rural Kentucky counties. METHODS: In late 2020, we conducted eighteen in-depth, semi-structured interviews with persons (10 women, 8 men) involved in SSP implementation in rural Kentucky counties. The interview guide broadly explored the barriers and facilitators to SSP implementation in rural communities; participants were also asked to describe how COVID-19 affected SSP operations. RESULTS: Participants emphasized the need to continue providing SSP-related services throughout the pandemic. COVID-19 mitigation strategies (e.g., masking, social distancing, pre-packing sterile injection equipment) limited relationship building between staff and clients and, more broadly, the pandemic adversely affected overall program expansion, momentum building, and coalition building. However, participants offered multiple examples of innovative solutions to the myriad of obstacles the pandemic presented. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic impacted SSP operations throughout rural Kentucky. Despite challenges, participants reported that providing SSP services remained paramount. Diverse adaptative strategies were employed to ensure continuation of essential SSP services, demonstrating the commitment and ingenuity of program staff. Given that SSPs are essential for preventing adverse injection drug use-associated health consequences, further resources should be invested in SSP operations to ensure service delivery is not negatively affected by co-occurring crises.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Female , Humans , Kentucky/epidemiology , Male , Needle-Exchange Programs , Pandemics/prevention & control , Rural Population , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
3.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 842, 2022 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1817210

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection. We examined correlates of COVID-19 testing among PWID in the U.S.-Mexico border region and described encounters with services representing potential opportunities (i.e., 'touchpoints') where COVID-19 testing could have been offered. 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 regression identified factors associated with COVID-19 testing including potential touchpoints, comorbidities and COVID-19 related misinformation and disinformation. RESULTS: Of 583 PWID, 30.5% previously had a COVID-19 test. Of 172 PWID who tested SARS-CoV-2 seropositive (30.1%), 50.3% encountered at least one touchpoint where COVID-19 testing could have been offered within the prior six months. Factors independently associated with at least two fold higher odds of COVID-19 testing were living in San Diego, recent incarceration, receiving substance use treatment, and experiencing ≥1 chronic health condition. Homelessness, having received ≥1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and having a HIV or HCV test since the COVID-19 epidemic began were also independently associated with having had a prior COVID-19 test. CONCLUSION: We identified several factors independently associated with COVID-19 testing and multiple touchpoints where COVID-19 testing could be scaled up for PWID, such as SUD treatment programs and syringe service programs. Integrated health services are needed to improve access to rapid, free COVID-19 testing in this vulnerable population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Users , HIV Infections , Hepatitis C , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cross-Sectional Studies , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Hepatitis C/complications , Humans , Mexico/epidemiology , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/complications , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology
5.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 232: 109263, 2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1719618

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has likely affected the delivery of interventions to prevent blood-borne viruses (BBVs) among people who inject drugs (PWID). We examined the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 in Scotland on: 1) needle and syringe provision (NSP), 2) opioid agonist therapy (OAT) and 3) BBV testing. METHODS: An interrupted time series study design; 23rd March 2020 (date of the first 'lockdown') was chosen as the key date. RESULTS: The number of HIV tests and HCV tests in drug services/prisons, and the number of needles/syringes (N/S) distributed decreased by 94% (RR=0.062, 95% CI 0.041-0.094, p < 0.001), 95% (RR=0.049, 95% CI 0.034-0.069, p < 0.001) and 18% (RR = 0.816, 95% CI 0.750-0.887, p < 0.001), respectively, immediately after lockdown. Post-lockdown, an increasing trend was observed relating to the number of N/S distributed (0.6%; RR = 1.006, 95% CI 1.001-1.012, p = 0.015), HIV tests (12.1%; RR = 1.121, 95% CI 1.092-1.152, p < 0.001) and HCV tests (13.2%; RR = 1.132, 95 CI 1.106-1.158, p < 0.001). Trends relating to the total amount of methadone prescribed remained stable, but a decreasing trend in the number of prescriptions (2.4%; RR = 0.976, 95% CI 0.959-0.993, p = 0.006) and an increasing trend in the quantity prescribed per prescription (2.8%; RR = 1.028, 95% CI 1.013-1.042, p < 0.001) was observed post-lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 impacted the delivery of BBV prevention services for PWID in Scotland. While there is evidence of service recovery; further effort is likely required to return some intervention coverage to pre-pandemic levels in the context of subsequent waves of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Users , HIV Infections , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland/epidemiology , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/rehabilitation
6.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 232: 109323, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1670416

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: This study describes harm reduction and health services provided by U.S syringe services programs (SSPs) in 2019 and changes in provision of those services in 2020. METHODS: SSPs were invited to participate in the Dave Purchase Memorial survey in August 2020. We collected programmatic data on services provided in 2019 and at the time of the survey in 2020. We conducted descriptive analyses using Chi-square and McNemar's tests. RESULTS: At the time of the survey, > 60% of SSPs reported increased monthly syringe and naloxone distribution and expansion of home-based and mail-based naloxone delivery in Fall 2020 compared to 2019. Approximately three-quarters of SSPs decreased or stopped providing on-site HIV and HCV testing. Nearly half of SSPs offering on-site medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in 2019 increased provision of MOUD in 2020. The proportion of SSPs offering on-site mental health care services and primary care services statistically significantly decreased from 2019 to Fall 2020, but telehealth offerings of these services increased. CONCLUSIONS: Many SSPs that offered health services in 2019 and remained operational in 2020 increased telehealth provision of mental health and primary care services, increased MOUD provision, and expanded harm reduction services, but most SSPs reduced or stopped on-site HIV and HCV testing. Sustaining SSP growth and innovation is paramount for preventing overdose deaths and HIV/HCV outbreaks after the deadliest year of the opioid epidemic in 2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , COVID-19/prevention & control , Harm Reduction , Health Services , Humans , Needle-Exchange Programs , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/complications , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
7.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 71(2): 66-68, 2022 Jan 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1622892

ABSTRACT

During October 2019, the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) noted that an increasing number of persons who inject drugs (PWID) in Kanawha County received a diagnosis of HIV. The number of HIV diagnoses among PWID increased from less than five annually during 2016-2018 to 11 during January-October 2019 (Figure). Kanawha County (with an approximate population of 180,000*) has high rates of opioid use disorder and overdose deaths, which have been increasing since 2016,† and the county is located near Cabell County, which experienced an HIV outbreak among PWID during 2018-2019 (1,2). In response to the increase in HIV diagnoses among PWID in 2019, WVBPH released a Health Advisory§; and WVBPH and Kanawha-Charleston Health Department (KCHD) convened an HIV task force, conducted care coordination meetings, received CDC remote assistance to support response activities, and expanded HIV testing and outreach.


Subject(s)
Disease Outbreaks , Drug Users , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , West Virginia/epidemiology
8.
J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care ; 33(3): 348-352, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621701

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT: People who inject drugs often have a higher prevalence of risk factors associated with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection and associated morbidity and mortality, compounded by challenges in health care access. This increased vulnerability underscores the critical need to prioritize people who inject drug in ongoing COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Co-location of syringe services, COVID-19 vaccination services, and other communicable disease testing has proved an effective model to provide necessary interventions without creating additional barriers. Here, we describe a partnership between the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Mobile Vaccine Unit, and the Center for Infectious Disease and Nursing Innovation at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing to provide COVID-19 vaccination, HIV and sexually transmitted infection testing, wound care, and linkage to care services co-located with a long-running syringe services program. We describe the services offered by each partner and lessons learned from this community-based co-location of services initiative.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/complications , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes , Vaccination
9.
Int J Drug Policy ; 101: 103570, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587942

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Healthcare delivery was disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic, requiring minimized in-person contact between patients and clinicians. During the pandemic, people with opioid use disorder (OUD) were not only at elevated risk for COVID-19, but had markedly reduced access to treatment for OUD, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and HIV due to recommended decreased in-person visits. METHODS: From March 15-June 15, 2020 at the syringe services program (SSP) in New Haven, Connecticut, USA, a differentiated care model evolved with reduced clinical demands on people who inject drugs (PWID) to ensure screening and treatment for HCV, HIV and OUD, with a focus on HCV treatment. This model involved a single, bundled screening, evaluation, testing (SET) and monitoring strategy for all three conditions, minimal in-person visits, followed by tele-health communication between patients, outreach workers and clinicians. In-person visits occurred only during induction onto methadone and phlebotomy at baseline and phlebotomy 12 weeks post-treatment for HCV to measure sustained virological response (SVR). Patients received supportive texts/calls from outreach workers and clinicians. RESULTS: Overall, 66 actively injecting PWID, all with OUD, underwent bundled laboratory screening; 35 had chronic HCV infection. Participants were 40 years (mean), mostly white (N = 18) men (N = 28) and 12 were unstably housed. Two were lost to-follow-up and 2 were incarcerated, leaving 31 who started pan-genotypic direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). The mean time from referral to initial phlebotomy and initiation of DAAs was 6.9 and 9.9 days, respectively. Fourteen additional patients were newly started on buprenorphine and 6 started on methadone; three and four, respectively, were on treatment at baseline. Overall, 29 (93.5%) PWID who initiated DAAs achieved SVR; among unstably housed persons the SVR was 83.3%. CONCLUSIONS: In response to COVID-19, an innovative differentiated care model for PWID at an SSP evolved that included successful co-treatment for HCV, HIV and OUD using a client-centered approach that reduces treatment demands on patients yet supports ongoing access to evidence-based treatments.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Users , Hepatitis C, Chronic , Hepatitis C , Opioid-Related Disorders , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Telemedicine , Antiviral Agents , Hepacivirus , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Hepatitis C, Chronic/drug therapy , Humans , Male , Opioid-Related Disorders/drug therapy , Opioid-Related Disorders/therapy , Pandemics , Pharmaceutical Preparations , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
10.
Harm Reduct J ; 18(1): 118, 2021 11 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1533260

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While people who inject drugs (PWID) are vulnerable to the adverse outcomes of events like COVID-19, little is known regarding the impact of the current pandemic on PWID. We examine how COVID-19 has affected PWID in New York City across four domains: substance use, risk behaviors, mental health, and service utilization. METHODS: As part of a randomized trial to improve access to HCV treatment for PWID, we recruited 165 participants. Eligibility criteria included detectable HCV RNA and recent drug injection. The present cross-sectional analysis is based on a subsample of 106 participants. We compared responses between two separate samples: 60 participants interviewed prior to the pandemic (pre-COVID-19 sample) and 46 participants interviewed during the pandemic (COVID-19 sample). We also assessed differences by study group [accessible care (AC) and usual care (UC)]. RESULTS: Compared to the pre-COVID-19 sample, those interviewed during COVID-19 reported higher levels of mental health issues, syringe reuse, and alcohol consumption and greater reductions in syringe-service programs and buprenorphine utilization. In the analysis conducted by study group, the UC group reported significantly higher injection risk behaviors and lower access to buprenorphine treatment during COVID-19, while during the same period, the AC group reported lower levels of substance use and injection risk behaviors. CONCLUSION: The current study provides insight on how COVID-19 has negatively affected PWID. Placing dispensing machines of harm-reduction supplies in communities where PWID live and increasing secondary exchange, mobile services, and mail delivery of supplies may help maintain access to lifesaving supplies during big events, such as COVID-19. Trial registration ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03214679. Registered July 11 2017. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03214679 .


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology
11.
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
12.
Am J Prev Med ; 61(5 Suppl 1): S118-S129, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1499600

ABSTRACT

Diagnoses of HIV among people who inject drugs have increased in the U.S. during 2014-2018 for the first time in 2 decades, and multiple HIV outbreaks have been detected among people who inject drugs since 2015. These epidemiologic trends pose a significant concern for achieving goals of the federal initiative for Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. Syringe services programs are cost effective, safe, and highly effective in reducing HIV transmission and are an essential component of a comprehensive, integrated approach to addressing these concerns. Yet, geographic coverage of these programs remains limited in the U.S., and many jurisdictions continue to have laws and policies that limit or disallow syringe services programs. An in-depth literature review was conducted on the role of syringe services programs in the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative. Empirical and model-based evidence consistently shows that syringe services programs have the highest impact in HIV prevention when combined with access to medications for substance use disorder and antiretroviral therapy. Their effectiveness is further maximized when they provide services without restrictions and include proven and innovative strategies to expand access to harm-reduction and clinical services (e.g., peer outreach, telehealth). Increasing geographic and service coverage of syringe services programs requires strong and sustainable policy, funding, and community support and will need to address new challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Syringe services programs have a key role in all 4 Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative strategies-Prevent, Diagnose, Treat, and Respond-and thus are instrumental to its success in preventing disease and saving lives.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , HIV Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Harm Reduction , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/complications , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
13.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 70(42): 1459-1465, 2021 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1485568

ABSTRACT

In the United States, 10% of HIV infections diagnosed in 2018 were attributed to unsafe injection drug use or male-to-male sexual contact among persons who inject drugs (PWID) (1). In 2017, among PWID or men who have sex with men and who inject drugs (MSM-ID), 76% of those who received a diagnosis of HIV infection lived in urban areas* (2). To monitor the prevalence of HIV infection and associated behaviors among persons who reported injecting drugs in the past 12 months, including MSM-ID, CDC's National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS) conducts interviews and HIV testing among populations of persons at high risk for HIV infection (MSM, PWID, and heterosexually active adults at increased risk for HIV infection) in selected metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) (3). The estimated HIV infection prevalence among PWID in 23 MSAs surveyed in 2018 was 7%. Among HIV-negative PWID, an estimated 26% receptively shared syringes and 68% had condomless vaginal sex during the preceding 12 months. During the same period, 57% had been tested for HIV infection, and 55% received syringes from a syringe services program (SSP). While overall SSP use did not significantly change since 2015, a substantial decrease in SSP use occurred among Black PWID, and HIV prevalence among Black PWID was higher than that among Hispanic and White PWID. These findings underscore the importance of continuing and expanding HIV prevention programs and community-based strategies for PWID, such as those provided by SSPs, especially following service disruptions created by the COVID-19 pandemic (4). Efforts are needed to ensure that PWID have low-barrier access to comprehensive and integrated needs-based SSPs (where legally permissible) that include provision of sterile syringes and safe syringe disposal, HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) testing and referrals to HIV and HCV treatment, HIV preexposure prophylaxis, and treatment for substance use and mental health disorders.


Subject(s)
Drug Users/psychology , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Health Risk Behaviors , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Urban Population/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Drug Users/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
14.
BMJ Open ; 11(10): e053394, 2021 10 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1476608

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a highly infectious and deadly disease, affecting some 58 million people worldwide. Of the 1.13 million people living in the Balearic Islands, Spain, about 1350 individuals have untreated HCV. Of these, about 1120 (83%) are estimated to be people who use drugs (PWUD), who are one of the key at-risk groups for HCV infection globally. Carrying out micro-elimination approaches focused on this population is crucial to achieve the WHO goal of eliminating HCV by 2030. Thus, the primary objective of this study is to validate a model of care that simplifies the screening and linkage to HCV care pathways for PWUD on the Balearic Islands. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This intervention study will be implemented across 17 sites, in 4 different settings: addiction service centres (n=12), non-governmental organisation centres (n=3), a mobile methadone unit and a prison, with an estimated 3725 participants. Together with the healthcare staff at each centre, the intervention protocols will be adapted, focusing on four phases: recruitment and testing; linkage to care; treatment for those who test positive; and monitoring of sustained virological response 12 weeks after treatment and reinfection. The primary outcomes will be the number of tested and treated individuals and the secondary outcomes will include individuals lost at each step in the cascade of care. Descriptive analysis and multivariable logistic regression of the data will be undertaken. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The Hospital Clínic Barcelona, Spain, Ethics Committee approved this study on 18 February 2021 (HCB/2020/2018). Findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications, conference presentations and social media. The results of this study could provide a model for targeting PWUD for HCV testing and treatment in the rest of Spain and in other settings, helping to achieve the WHO HCV elimination goal.


Subject(s)
Hepatitis C , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Hepacivirus , Hepatitis C/diagnosis , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Humans , Spain/epidemiology , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/drug therapy , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , World Health Organization
15.
J Urban Health ; 98(4): 538-550, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432606

ABSTRACT

The Ontario Integrated Supervised Injection Services cohort in Toronto, Canada (OiSIS-Toronto) is an open prospective cohort of people who inject drugs (PWID). OiSIS-Toronto was established to evaluate the impacts of supervised consumption services (SCS) integrated within three community health agencies on health status and service use. The cohort includes PWID who do and do not use SCS, recruited via self-referral, snowball sampling, and community/street outreach. From 5 November 2018 to 19 March 2020, we enrolled 701 eligible PWID aged 18+ who lived in Toronto. Participants complete interviewer-administered questionnaires at baseline and semi-annually thereafter and are asked to consent to linkages with provincial healthcare administrative databases (90.2% consented; of whom 82.4% were successfully linked) and SCS client databases. At baseline, 86.5% of participants (64.0% cisgender men, median ([IQR] age= 39 [33-49]) had used SCS in the previous 6 months, of whom most (69.7%) used SCS for <75% of their injections. A majority (56.8%) injected daily, and approximately half (48.0%) reported fentanyl as their most frequently injected drug. As of 23 April 2021, 291 (41.5%) participants had returned for follow-up. Administrative and self-report data are being used to (1) evaluate the impact of integrated SCS on healthcare use, uptake of community health agency services, and health outcomes; (2) identify barriers and facilitators to SCS use; and (3) identify potential enhancements to SCS delivery. Nested sub-studies include evaluation of "safer opioid supply" programs and impacts of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Adult , Cohort Studies , Humans , Male , Ontario/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology
16.
Int J Drug Policy ; 98: 103391, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338384

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People who inject drugs (PWID) are a high-risk group for COVID-19 transmission and serious health consequences. Restrictions imposed in the UK in response to the pandemic led to rapid health and housing service alterations. We aimed to examine PWID experiences of: 1) challenges relating to the COVID-19 public health measures; 2) changes to opioid substitution therapy (OST) and harm reduction services; and 3) perceived effects of COVID-19 on drug use patterns and risk behaviour. METHODS: Telephone semi-structured interviews were conducted with 28 PWID in Bristol, Southwest of England. Analysis followed a reflexive thematic analysis. RESULTS: Concern about COVID-19 and adherence to public health guidance varied. Efforts made by services to continue providing support during the pandemic were appreciated and some changes were preferred, such as less frequent OST collection, relaxation of supervised consumption and needle and syringe programmes (NSP) home delivery. However, remote forms of contact were highlighted as less beneficial and more difficult to engage with than in-person contact. Public health guidance advising people to 'stay home' led to increased isolation, boredom, and time to ruminate which impacted negatively on mental health. Lockdown restrictions directly impacted on sources of income and routine. Changes in drug use were explained as a consequence of isolation and fewer interactions with peers, problems accessing drugs, reduced drug purity and reduced financial resources. CONCLUSION: This study captures the significant impacts and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the lives of PWID. While rapid adaptations to service delivery to help mitigate the risks of COVID-19 were appreciated and some changes such as relaxation of supervised daily OST consumption were viewed positively, barriers to access need further attention. Going forwards there may be opportunities to harness the positive aspects of some changes to services.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Users , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Communicable Disease Control , Harm Reduction , Humans , Needle-Exchange Programs , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology
17.
AIDS Behav ; 26(1): 277-283, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1318777

ABSTRACT

Drug overdose remains a leading cause of death in the US, with growing rates attributable to illicit fentanyl use. Recent HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs (PWID) and service disruptions from COVID-19 have renewed concerns on HIV resurgence. We examined the relationship between fentanyl use and three injection-related HIV risk behaviors among PWID in Baltimore City (BC) and Anne Arundel Country (AAC), Maryland. PWID (N = 283) were recruited to the study through targeted sampling at street-based locations in BC and AAC from July 2018 to March 2020. Receptive syringe sharing (RSS) [adjusted odds ratio (AOR): 2.8, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-6.3] and daily injecting (AOR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.0-3.6) were associated with injecting fentanyl and cocaine together. Fentanyl availability and COVID-19 bring new HIV prevention challenges, particularly among those who inject fentanyl with cocaine, highlighting the importance to expand and sustain harm reduction, prevention, and treatment services for PWID to reduce HIV and overdose burden.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cocaine , Drug Users , HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Cross-Sectional Studies , Fentanyl/adverse effects , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology
18.
J Urban Health ; 98(4): 538-550, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1283812

ABSTRACT

The Ontario Integrated Supervised Injection Services cohort in Toronto, Canada (OiSIS-Toronto) is an open prospective cohort of people who inject drugs (PWID). OiSIS-Toronto was established to evaluate the impacts of supervised consumption services (SCS) integrated within three community health agencies on health status and service use. The cohort includes PWID who do and do not use SCS, recruited via self-referral, snowball sampling, and community/street outreach. From 5 November 2018 to 19 March 2020, we enrolled 701 eligible PWID aged 18+ who lived in Toronto. Participants complete interviewer-administered questionnaires at baseline and semi-annually thereafter and are asked to consent to linkages with provincial healthcare administrative databases (90.2% consented; of whom 82.4% were successfully linked) and SCS client databases. At baseline, 86.5% of participants (64.0% cisgender men, median ([IQR] age= 39 [33-49]) had used SCS in the previous 6 months, of whom most (69.7%) used SCS for <75% of their injections. A majority (56.8%) injected daily, and approximately half (48.0%) reported fentanyl as their most frequently injected drug. As of 23 April 2021, 291 (41.5%) participants had returned for follow-up. Administrative and self-report data are being used to (1) evaluate the impact of integrated SCS on healthcare use, uptake of community health agency services, and health outcomes; (2) identify barriers and facilitators to SCS use; and (3) identify potential enhancements to SCS delivery. Nested sub-studies include evaluation of "safer opioid supply" programs and impacts of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Adult , Cohort Studies , Humans , Male , Ontario/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology
19.
AIDS Behav ; 26(1): 57-68, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1263159

ABSTRACT

Syringe services programs (SSPs) are essential to preventing injection drug use-related infections and overdose death among people who use drugs (PWUD). The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic initially impeded SSPs' operations. To effectively support these programs, information is needed regarding SSPs' experiences adapting their services and the challenges posed by COVID-19. We conducted qualitative interviews with leadership and staff from a sample of 31 U.S. SSPs. Respondents discussed urgent concerns including reduced reach of services, suspended HIV/hepatitis C testing, high COVID-19 risk among PWUD, and negative impacts of isolation on overdose and mental health. They also noted opportunities to improve future services for PWUD, including shifting to evidence-based distribution practices and maintaining regulatory changes that increased access to opioid use disorder medications post-pandemic. Findings can inform efforts to support SSPs in restoring and expanding services, and provide insight into SSPs' role in engaging PWUD during the COVID-19 response and future emergencies.


RESUMEN: Los programas de servicios de jeringas (reconocido como SSP en inglés) son esenciales para prevenir las infecciones relacionadas con el consumo de drogas inyectables y la muerte por sobredosis entre las personas que consumen drogas (reconocidos como PWUD en ingles). La nueva pandemia del coronavirus (COVID-19) inicialmente impidió las operaciones de los SSP. Para apoyar eficazmente estos programas, se necesita información sobre las experiencias de los SSP que adaptan sus servicios y los desafíos que plantea COVID-19. Realizamos entrevistas cualitativas con el liderazgo y el personal de una muestra de 31 SSPs de EE.UU. Los encuestados discutieron las preocupaciones urgentes, incluyendo la reducción del alcance de los servicios, la suspensión de las pruebas de VIH/hepatitis C, el alto riesgo de COVID-19 entre la PWUD, y los impactos negativos del aislamiento en las sobredosis y la salud mental. También identificaron las oportunidades de mejorar los servicios futuros para las PWUD, incluyendo el cambio a prácticas de distribución basadas en evidencias y el mantenimiento de cambios regulatorios que aumentaran el acceso a medicamentos para el trastorno por consumo de opiáceos después de la pandemia. La información que se encontró en este estudio se puede utilizar junto los esfuerzos para apoyar a los SSP en la restauración y expansión de los servicios, y proporcionar información sobre el papel de los SSP en la participación de PWUD durante la respuesta covid-19 futuras emergencias.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Harm Reduction , Humans , Needle-Exchange Programs , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Syringes
20.
Liver Int ; 41(9): 2024-2031, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247255

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: In 2014, the burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) in Sweden was evaluated, to establish a baseline and inform public health interventions. Considering the changing landscape of HCV treatment, prevention, and care, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, this analysis seeks to evaluate Sweden's progress towards the World Health Organization (WHO) elimination targets and identify remaining barriers. METHODS: The data used for modelling HCV transmission and disease burden in Sweden were obtained through literature review, unpublished sources and expert input. A dynamic Markov model was employed to forecast population sizes and incidence of HCV through 2030. Two scenarios ('2019 Base' and 'WHO Targets') were developed to evaluate Sweden's progress towards HCV elimination. RESULTS: At the beginning of 2019, there were 29 700 (95% uncertainty interval: 19 300-33 700) viremic infections in Sweden. Under the base scenario, Sweden would achieve and exceed the WHO targets for diagnosis, treatment and liver-related death. However, new infections would decrease by less than 10%, relative to 2015. Achieving all WHO targets by 2030 would require (i) expanding harm reduction programmes to reach more than 90% of people who inject drugs (PWID) and (ii) treating 90% of HCV + PWID engaged in harm reduction programmes and ≥7% of PWID not involved in harm reduction programmes, annually by 2025. CONCLUSIONS: It is of utmost importance that Sweden, and all countries, find sustainability in HCV programmes by broadening the setting and base of providers to provide stability and continuity of care during turbulent times.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hepatitis C , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Hepacivirus , Hepatitis C/drug therapy , Hepatitis C/epidemiology , Hepatitis C/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Sweden/epidemiology
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