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HIV education in a Siberian prison colony for drug dependent males

Author(s): Dolan Kate | Bijl Murdo | White Bethany

Journal: International Journal for Equity in Health
ISSN 1475-9276

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 7;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: HIV | Russia | prisons | harm reduction | intravenous substance abuse | health education

Abstract Aim To evaluate the effectiveness of an HIV peer training program conducted in a colony for drug dependent male prisoners in Siberia, Russia. Method Questionnaires were used to collect data pre and post peer training sessions. Three peer training sessions were conducted between questionnaires. Fifteen to twenty inmates were trained as peer educators at each week-long health education training session. Results In 2000 and 2001, 153 and 124 inmates completed the questionnaire respectively. Respondents in both years reported similar health and injecting histories and comparable levels of sexual activity. Respondents in 2001 were significantly more likely to correctly identify both how HIV can and cannot be transmitted compared to respondents in 2000. The prevalence of tattooing in prison decreased significantly between questionnaires. However, there was virtually no reported use of bleach to clean tattooing or injecting equipment in either 2000 or 2001. Access to condoms increased significantly between questionnaires. Conclusions While this training program was associated with improved HIV knowledge, the Ministry of Justice should consider improved and additional harm reduction strategies. These include increased availability of bleach and condoms and the introduction of methadone treatment and syringe exchange in prison.
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