The Russian health care system is organized around specific diseases, with relatively little focus on integration across specialties to address co-morbidities. This organizational structure presents new challenges in the context of the recent epidemics of injection drug use (IDU) and HIV. This paper uses existing and new data to examine the prevalence of reported new cases of drug dependence (heroin) and HIV over time as well as associations between drug dependence and alcoholism, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis in the City of St. Petersburg and the Leningrad region. We found a sharp rise in reported cases of IDU beginning in 1991 and continuing until 2002/2003, followed by a sharp rise in newly reported cases of HIV. These rises were followed by a drop in new cases of HIV and drug addiction in 2002/2003 and a drop in the proportion of HIV-positve individuals with IDU as a risk factor. Infection with hepatitis B and C were common, especially among injection drug users (38 and 85%, respectively), but also in alcoholics (7 and 14%). Tuberculosis was more common in alcoholics (53%) than in persons with alcoholism and drug dependence (10%), or with drug dependence alone (4%). Though these data have many limitations, they clearly demonstrate that drug dependence and/or alcoholism, HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis frequently co-occur in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region. Prevention and treatment services across medical specialties should be integrated to address the wide range of issues that are associated with these co-morbidities.
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