HIV behavioural surveillance in Switzerland: trends in drug consumption, injection and syringe distribution, 1993-2011


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Inproceedings: an article in a conference proceedings.
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Abstract (Abstract): shot summary in a article that contain essentials elements presented during a scientific conference, lecture or from a poster.
HIV behavioural surveillance in Switzerland: trends in drug consumption, injection and syringe distribution, 1993-2011
Title of the conference
19th International AIDS Conference
Lociciro S., Arnaud S., Gervasoni J.P., Jeannin A., Spencer B., Dubois-Arber F.
Washington, United-States, July 22-27, 2012
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Issued date
Background: As part of the second generation surveillance system for HIV/Aids in Switzerland, repeated cross-sectional surveys were conducted in 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2006 and 2011 among attenders of all low threshold facilities (LTFs) with needle exchange programmes and/or supervised drug consumption rooms for injection or inhalation. The number of syringes distributed to the injectors has also been measured annually since 2000. Distribution in other settings, such as pharmacies, is also monitored nationally.
Methods: Periodic surveys of LTFs have been conducted using an interviewer/self-administered questionnaire structured along four themes: socio-demographic characteristics, drug consumption, risk/preventive behaviour and health. Analysis is restricted to attenders who had injected drugs during their lifetime (IDU´s). Pearson's chi-square test and trend analysis were conducted on annual aggregated data. Trend significance was assessed using Stata's non parametric test nptrend.
Results: Median age of IDU´s increased from 26 years in 1993 to 40 in 2011; most are men (78%). Total yearly number of syringes distributed by LTFs has decreased by 44% in 10 years.
Use of cocaine has increased (Table 1). Injection, regular use of heroin and borrowing of syringes/needles have decreased, while sharing of other material remains stable. There are fewer new injectors; more IDU´s report substitution treatment. Most attenders had ever been tested for HIV (90% in 1993, 94% in 2011). Reported prevalence of HIV remained stable around 10%; that of HCV decreased from 62% in 2000 to 42% in 2011.
Conclusions: Overall, findings indicate a decrease in injection as a means of drug consumption in that population. This interpretation is supported by data from other sources, such as a national decrease in distribution from other delivery points. Switzerland's behavioural surveillance system is sustainable and allows the HIV epidemic to be monitored among this hard-to-reach population, providing information for planning and evaluation.
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