Samuel R. Friedman - HIV and hepatitis C: how they spread in the community and new insights into how some drug injectors seem to avoid infection

Publisher: | Last update: 10.10.2007

The Centre for Addictology, 1st Medical Faculty, Charles University, invites you cordially to the public presentation - Samuel R. Friedman - HIV and hepatitis C: how they spread in the community and new insights into how some drug injectors seem to avoid infection. Main lecture hall of Psychiatric clinic, Ke Karlovu 11, Prague 2. Thursday, October 25th, 2007, 2:30 p.m.

HIV and hepatitis C spread through a community by way of “risk networks,” which are the patterns of linkages between sex partners (for HIV) and between injecting drug users. These linkages affect infection dynamics in a complicated way, based on the fact that the probability that initial infection by a virus occurs between two people who engage in risky behaviour together is a function of the probability that one and only one of them is infected, the infectivity of the infected partner, the susceptibility of the uninfected partner, and the behaviour itself. All of these variables are in turn shaped by a number of personal and social factors, including network variables.

Social networks (which convey social influence and norms between people) are likewise  part of the causal pattern involved in shaping behaviours and the spread of HIV and HCV.

After reviewing what these insights contribute that a purely behavioural epidemiology/prevention approach omits, we will also discuss a related issue: how do a considerable number of injecting drug users manage to avoid infection with either hepatitis C or HIV over considerable years of injecting experience? Based on the findings so far of the “Staying Safe” study in New York, we will describe some of the ways in which injectors who are not infected with either virus have run their injection careers. This goes beyond structural explanations of non-infection. Staying uninfected is hard work: it seems to involve (1) conscious efforts and socially embedded practices that aim at remaining uninfected, but also (2) motivations and socially embedded practices that bear on other problems drug users face (including avoiding drug sickness, avoiding social ostracism, and maintaining control of one’s life rather than letting it be controlled by addiction).

Samuel R. Friedman, PhD (epidemiologist and sociologist) is a Senior Research Fellow and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Theoretical Synthesis Core in the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research at National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., New York City. Other appointments include Senior Research Associate at the Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins University. Dr. Friedman is the author of over 350 publications on HIV, STI, and drug use epidemiology and prevention. Recent research projects have included: a review paper (AIDS, 2006) on the social research needs of the AIDS field; a study of social factors, social networks and HIV, STI, and other BBVs among youth and drug injectors in a high-risk community; research on the impact of economic and political crises on HIV risk in Buenos Aires; a study of how some long-term drug injectors remain uninfected with HIV and HCV (i.e., how they Stay Safe); a study of socioeconomic and policy predictors of the extent of injecting drug use, of HIV epidemics, and of HIV prevention efforts in US metropolitan areas, and research on why women injectors who have sex with women are at enhanced risk for HIV and other infections.
He has engaged in many international collaborative projects with the WHO MultiCentre Study of Drugs and HIV and with researchers in Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and other countries. He is Associate Editor for Social Science of the International Journal of Drug Policy and is or has recently been on the editorial boards of AIDS, JAIDS, AIDScience, a Web venture for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, AIDS Education and Prevention, The Drug and Alcohol Professional, and Harm Reduction Journal. He is a published poet who often presents readings at conferences on HIV/AIDS and/or on preventing drug-related harm.

The project is co-financed by the European social fund, the state budget of the Czech Republic, and the budget of the capital city, Prague.

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