Police Education as a Component of National HIV Response: Lessons from Kyrgyzstan

Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 132, Supplement 1, Pages S48-S52 (2013)

Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 206-2014

Posted: 6 Nov 2014

See all articles by Leo Beletsky

Leo Beletsky

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences; Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine

Rachel Thomas

Open Society Foundations (OSF)

Natalya Shumskaya

AIDS Foundation East-West

Irina Artamonova

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - School of Medicine

Marina Smelyanskaya

Open Society Foundations (OSF)

Date Written: November 1, 2013

Abstract

Background: Recognition of the police department’s role in shaping HIV spread and prevention has generated interest in educational interventions targeting law enforcement. With input from civil society, trainings covering HIV prevention science, policy, and occupational safety were developed and delivered to cadets and active-duty police across Kyrgyzstan.

Methods: We administered a multi-site cross-sectional survey of Kyrgyz police to assess whether undergoing HIV trainings was associated with improved legal and public health knowledge, positive attitudes towards public health programs and policies, occupational safety awareness, and intended practices targeting vulnerable groups.

Results: In 313-officer sample, 38% reported undergoing the training. In multivariate analysis, training was associated with being significantly more likely to support referring individuals to harm reduction organizations (aOR 2.21; 95%CI 1.33-3.68), expressing no intent to extrajudicially confiscate syringes (aOR 1.92; 95%CI 1.09-3.39), and better understanding sex worker detention procedure (aOR 2.23; 95%CI 1.19-4.46), although trainee knowledge of policy on routine identification checks for sex workers was significantly lower (aOR 3.0; 95%CI 1.78-5.05). Training was also associated with improved occupational safety knowledge (aOR 3.85; 95%CI 1.66-8.95).

Conclusion: Kyrgyzstan’s experience suggest that police trainings have the potential to improve the integration of policing and public health efforts targeting at-risk groups. Regardless of the legal environment, such structural approaches should be considered elsewhere in Central Asia and beyond. As these initiatives gain acceptance, further research is needed to inform their design and tailoring.

Keywords: Central Asia, Injection drug use, structural interventions, policing, police training, HIV, HIV prevention

Suggested Citation

Beletsky, Leo and Thomas, Rachel and Shumskaya, Natalya and Artamonova, Irina and Smelyanskaya, Marina, Police Education as a Component of National HIV Response: Lessons from Kyrgyzstan (November 1, 2013). Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 132, Supplement 1, Pages S48-S52 (2013); Northeastern University School of Law Research Paper No. 206-2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2519597

Leo Beletsky (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - School of Law; Northeastern University - Bouvé College of Health Sciences ( email )

416 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
617-373-5540 (Phone)

Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, UCSD School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Rachel Thomas

Open Society Foundations (OSF) ( email )

224 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
United States

Natalya Shumskaya

AIDS Foundation East-West ( email )

P.O. Box 75752
Amsterdam
Netherlands

Irina Artamonova

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - School of Medicine ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
MC 0507
La Jolla, CA 92093
United States

Marina Smelyanskaya

Open Society Foundations (OSF) ( email )

224 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
United States

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