Behavioral peculiarities of the IDUs: repressions and risks

Irina Gorchkova, Moscow Lomonosov State University

Presently in Russia a concentrated epidemic of HIV is being developed. By the end of 2006 0.5 per cent of the adult population were officially recorded as infected. The basic way of defeat is sharing of syringes. Last years strengthening policy of the control over drugs circulation is observed, the psychotropic substances list is expanded, the criminal code articles are toughened. In the study of Moscow State University the behavioral peculiarities of IDUs were explored, including in connection with a state policy towards drug circulation. In June and August of 2007 2823 respondents were surveyed in 22 cities, 8 focus groups were conducted in 4 cities. 80 per cent of the respondents use risky practices and has unprotected sex. The share of those who do not expose themselves to injection or sexual risks is 3 per cent. The research fixes connections between policy of strengthening repressive measures and drug consumption pattern. In 2006 48 per cent of the respondents were detained by the militia. Hard but inefficient control for the retail drug dealers results in lowering quality of the drugs and hence makes IDUs to make more injections. 47 per cent of the respondents take drugs every day. The bigger share of this number makes three and more injections a day. In some cities drug control officers can detain IDUs only for the reason of their having a syringe alone, or when they attempt to buy a syringe in the pharmacy. The absence of the syringe at the moment of drug purchase when the addict has unbearable hunger for drugs leads IDUs to give up the risk to be infected. The persecution make IDUs insensitive to information of the opportunities to pass HIV tests, and to receive ART that makes this group of people even more marginal.

Presented in Poster Session 3