Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2227347
 


 



Access to Syringes for HIV Prevention for Injection Drug Users in St. Petersburg, Russia: Syringe Purchase Test Study


Ekaterina V. Fedorova


The Biomedical Center

Roman V. Skochilov


Saint Petersburg State University; The Biomedical Center

Robert Heimer


Yale University - School of Public Health

Patricia Case


Fenway Community Health

Leo Beletsky


Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences

Lauretta E. Grau


Yale University - School of Public Health

Andrey P. Kozlov


The Biomedical Center

Alla V. Shaboltas


St.Petersburg State University; The Biomedical Center

March 1, 2013

BMC Public Health, Vol. 13, p. 183, 2013
Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 130-2013

Abstract:     
Background: The HIV epidemic in Russia is concentrated among injection drug users (IDUs). This is especially true for St. Petersburg where high HIV incidence persists among the city’s estimated 80,000 IDUs. Although sterile syringes are legally available, access for IDUs may be hampered. To explore the feasibility of using pharmacies to expand syringe access and provide other prevention services to IDUs, we investigated the current access to sterile syringes at the pharmacies and the correlation between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence in St. Petersburg.

Methods: 965 pharmacies citywide were mapped, classified by ownership type, and the association between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence at the district level was tested. We selected two districts among the 18 districts – one central and one peripheral – that represented two major types of city districts and contacted all operating pharmacies by phone to inquire if they stocked syringes and obtained details about their stock. Qualitative interviews with 26 IDUs provided data regarding syringe access in pharmacies and were used to formulate hypotheses for the pharmacy syringe purchase test wherein research staff attempted to purchase syringes in all pharmacies in the two districts.

Results: No correlation was found between the density of pharmacies and HIV prevalence at the district level. Of 108 operating pharmacies, 38 (35%) did not sell syringes of the types used by IDUs; of these, half stocked but refused to sell syringes to research staff, and the other half did not stock syringes at all. Overall 70 (65%) of the pharmacies did sell syringes; of these, 49 pharmacies sold single syringes without any restrictions and 21 offered packages of ten.

Conclusions: Trainings for pharmacists need to be conducted to reduce negative attitudes towards IDUs and increase pharmacists’ willingness to sell syringes. At a structural level, access to safe injection supplies for IDUs could be increased by including syringes in the federal list of mandatory medical products sold by pharmacies.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 17

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Date posted: March 3, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Fedorova, Ekaterina V. and Skochilov, Roman V. and Heimer, Robert and Case, Patricia and Beletsky, Leo and Grau, Lauretta E. and Kozlov, Andrey P. and Shaboltas, Alla V., Access to Syringes for HIV Prevention for Injection Drug Users in St. Petersburg, Russia: Syringe Purchase Test Study (March 1, 2013). BMC Public Health, Vol. 13, p. 183, 2013; Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 130-2013. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2227347

Contact Information

Ekaterina V. Fedorova
The Biomedical Center ( email )
8 Viborgskaya St.
St. Petersburg, 194044
Russia
Roman V. Skochilov
Saint Petersburg State University ( email )
7/9 Universitetskaya nab.
St. Petersburg, 199034
Russia
The Biomedical Center ( email )
8 Viborgskaya St.
St. Petersburg, 194044
Russia
Robert Heimer
Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )
PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States
Patricia Case
Fenway Community Health ( email )
800 Boylston Street
4th Floor
Boston, MA 02199
United States
Leo Beletsky (Contact Author)
Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences ( email )
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-5540 (Phone)
Lauretta E. Grau
Yale University - School of Public Health ( email )
PO Box 208034
60 College Street
New Haven, CT 06520-8034
United States
Andrey P. Kozlov
The Biomedical Center ( email )
8 Viborgskaya St.
St. Petersburg, 194044
Russia
Alla V. Shaboltas
St.Petersburg State University ( email ) ( email )
Universitetskaya nab. 7/9
St. Petersburg, 199034
Russia
The Biomedical Center ( email ) ( email )
Universitetskaya nab. 7/9
St. Petersburg, 199034
Russia
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