Pilot Study to Assess Risk Behaviors Among Injection Drug Users in Kigali-Rwanda|
Workman, K.; Factor, J.; Asimwe, W.; Subuhoro, D.; Gashema, H.; Irakoze, M.; Nsanzimana, S. & Riedel, D. J.
INTRODUCTION: Injection drug use (IDU) is a high-risk practice for acquiring and transmitting HIV and other blood-borne infections. While many studies have been conducted in the U.S.A, Europe, and Southeast Asia, IDU is less well-recognized in sub-Saharan Africa. No studies of IDU have ever been conducted in Rwanda.
This pilot study assessed the injection behaviors and risk factors among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Kigali, Rwanda.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey and voluntary HIV testing were administered to PWID at a single health center in Kigali. Convenience sampling was utilized for recruitment.
RESULTS: Sixteen PWID completed the survey. Most participants (94%) were male; the median age was 34.5 years (range, 18-50 years). The most frequently used drugs were heroin (100%), marijuana (87%), benzodiazepines (81%), and cocaine (38%). Half of the participants used multiple times daily; 44% reported sharing equipment. Nearly all (88%) reported actively seeking drug treatment. Fifteen participants were tested for HIV, and all tested negative.
CONCLUSIONS: This is the first study to assess PWID in Rwanda. Although all participants tested negative for HIV, this study highlights that PWID in Rwanda are at high risk for HIV and other blood-borne infections. Prevention and drug treatment strategies are needed for this vulnerable population.
HIV Infections; Substance Abuse; Intravenous; Substance-Related Disorders; Drug Users