Project period: 09/10/2010 - 09/09/2011
Grant Type: Pilot Project
Injection drug use is the most significant drug problem in Russia with approximately 3% of the Russian population, and as many as 8% of drug using adolescents and young adults, currently injecting drugs. The overwhelming majority (~70%) of Russians who are living with HIV are injection drug users. However, drug treatment in Russia is ineffective, and harm reduction and HIV prevention efforts are limited. There is a clear and urgent need for effective HIV and substance use prevention strategies for adolescents at risk for injection drug use, which, in Russia, places adolescents into one of the most rapidly expanding HIV epidemics in the world. Our long term goal is to develop, implement, and evaluate HIV and substance use prevention interventions for Russian adolescents and their families. This CIRA pilot project will provide preliminary data to inform the development of a NIH grant application for a longitudinal study with this vulnerable population. We will interview 20 key stakeholders in government, law enforcement, health care, research and education and 60 adolescents (30 male and 30 female) and their parents (at least 1 parent per adolescent), including 30 non-injection drug using adolescents and their parents and 30 injection drug using adolescents and their parents, to: (1) develop a culturally informed conceptual model of key risk and protective factors related to the initiation of and sustained engagement in injection drug use and HIV risk behavior among Russian adolescents; (2) identify the legal, ethical, cultural, and practical issues relevant to conducting research on HIV risk, drug and alcohol use, and sexual behavior among Russian adolescents; and (3) identify key methodological factors for conducting longitudinal research with Russian adolescents and their parents, including: recruitment and retention strategies, incentives, assessment format and frequency, and strategies for tracking participants across time.