HIV prevalence and risk behaviors of male injection drug users in Cairo, Egypt

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Social Research Center (SRC)

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Cherif Soliman, Ihab A Rahman, Sherine Shawky, Tarek Bahaa, Sherif Elkamhawi, Ali Abd El Sattar, Doaa Oraby, Dina Khaled, Bamikale Feyisetan, Ehab Salah, Zein El Taher, Nasr El Sayed

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Research Article

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Summer 1-7-2010



Objective: To measure HIV prevalence and related risk behaviors among male injection drug users (IDUs) in Cairo, Egypt in the context of the first survey wave of an integrated biological and behavioral surveillance system. Design and methods: Given the hidden nature of injection drug use, we used the peer-referral methodology of respondent-driven sampling in a cross-sectional study to recruit a sample of male IDUs in Cairo between May and August 2006. Behavioral data were collected through face-to-face interviews and serum was obtained for HIV antibody testing. Population estimates were produced using respondent-driven sampling Analysis Tool. Results: The study enrolled 413 male IDUs. The population estimated HIV prevalence was 0.6% (95% confidence interval 0.1-1.8). More than half (53.0%) reported injecting drugs with used needles or syringes and nearly one-third (32.4%) shared their used needle or syringe with one or more persons in the preceding month. Overall, 70.5% had sex in the preceding year, of whom 9.4% reported sex with male partners and 13.2% reported sex with commercial sex workers in the preceding 12 months. Ever use of a condom during sex was low with all partner types and only 5.8% ever had an HIV test. Conclusion: This first survey wave of integrated biological and behavioral surveillance system in Egypt to track the HIV epidemic among male IDUs found relatively low prevalence of infection compared to global estimates, though the figure is many times higher than the general population. In addition, risky injection practices and unprotected sex were high with sexual networks including men who have sex with men, female sex workers, wives, and other regular and casual partners. The respondent-driven sampling method was effective in recruiting male IDUs and the results are being used to inform surveillance and prevention programs.

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