Don Des Jarlais

Don Des Jarlais
Don Des Jarlais

Professor of Epidemiology

Professional overview

Dr. Don Des Jarlais is a leader in the fields of AIDS and injecting drug use, and has published extensively on these topics including articles in The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Science, and Nature.

He is active in international research, having collaborated on studies in many different countries.  He serves as a consultant to various institutions, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the National Academy of Sciences, and the World Health Organization.

Dr. Des Jarlais’ research has received numerous awards, including a New York State Department of Health Commissioner’s award for promoting the health of persons who use drugs.  He formerly served as avcommissioner for the National Commission on AIDS; as a core group member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Injecting Drug Use; and as a member of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr. Des Jarlais is also an adjunct faculty of psychiatry and preventive medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and guest investigator at Rockefeller University in New York.

Education

BA, Behavioral Science, Rice University, Houston, TX
PhD, Social Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Areas of research and study

Epidemiology
HIV/AIDS
Psychology

Publications

Publications

A Multistage Process Model of How a Person Who Currently Injects Drugs Comes to Assist Persons Who Do not Inject with Their First Injections

Facilitating engagement of persons with opioid use disorder in treatment for hepatitis C virus infection via telemedicine: Stories of onsite case managers

Talal, A. H., Jaanimägi, U., Davis, K., Bailey, J., Bauer, B. M., Dharia, A., George, S., McLeod, A., Morton, K., Nugent, A., Zeremski, M., Dinani, A., Des Jarlais, D. C., Perumalswami, P. V., Tobin, J. N., & Dickerson, S. S.

Publication year

2021

Journal title

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Volume

127
Abstract
Abstract
Although hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has high prevalence and incidence in persons with opioid use disorder (PWOUD), their engagement in HCV care has been limited due to a variety of factors. In an ongoing multisite study at 12 opioid treatment programs (OTPs) throughout New York State (NYS), we have been evaluating telemedicine accompanied by onsite administration of direct acting antiviral (DAA) medications compared with usual care including offsite referral to a liver specialist for HCV management. Each site has a case manager (CM) who is responsible for all study-related activities including participant recruitment, facilitating telemedicine interactions, retention in care, and data collection. Our overall objective is to analyze CM experiences of clients' stories and events to understand how the telemedicine model facilitates HCV treatment. Hermeneutic phenomenology was used to interpret and to explicate common meanings and shared practices of the phenomena of case management, and a focus group with CMs was conducted to reinforce and expand on key themes identified from the CMs' stories. We identified three themes: (1) building trust, (2) identification of multiple competing priorities, and (3) development of personalized care approaches. Our results illustrate that trust is a fundamental pillar on which the telemedicine system can be based. Participants' experiences at the OTP can reinforce trust. Understanding the specific competing priorities and routinizing dedicated personalized approaches to overcome them are key to increasing participation in HCV care among PWOUD.

Place-Based Correlates of Exchange Sex Among People Who Inject Drugs in 19 U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 2012

Rapid point-of-care (POC) testing for Hepatitis C antibodies in a very high prevalence setting: persons injecting drugs in Tallinn, Estonia

The methamphetamine epidemic among persons who inject heroin in Hai Phong, Vietnam

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Publication year

2021

Journal title

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment

Volume

126
Abstract
Abstract
Aims: To describe the current methamphetamine (MA) use epidemic among persons who inject heroin (PWID) in Hai Phong, Vietnam, and consider possibilities for mitigating adverse effects of methamphetamine use. Methods: This study conducted surveys of PWID in 2016, 2017, and 2018 (N = 1383, 1451, and 1445, respectively). Trained interviewers administered structured interviews covering drug use histories, current drug use, and related risk behaviors. The study used urinalysis to confirm current drug use, and conducted HIV and HCV testing. Results: Participants were predominantly male (95%), mean age of 40, and all reported injecting heroin. Respondents' reports of initiating MA use were rare up through early 2000s but increased exponentially through the mid-2010s. MA use was predominantly “smoking,” heating the drug and inhaling the vapor using a pipe; injecting MA was rare. Current (past 30 day) MA use appears to have plateaued in 2016–2018 with 53–58% of participants reporting no use in the last 30 days, 37–41% reporting low to moderate use (1 to 19 days in last 30 days), and 5–7% reporting very frequent use (20 or more days in last 30 days). This plateau reflects a rough balance between new users and individuals ceasing use. Conclusions: MA use has become a substantial public health problem among PWID in Hai Phong. Initiation into MA use rose exponentially from 2005 to about 2015. Use of MA will likely continue for a substantial number of PWID. Currently, no medication is approved for treating MA disorders in Vietnam. Current psychosocial treatment requires highly trained counselors and months of treatment, so that psychosocial treatment for all PWID with MA disorders is likely beyond the resources available in a middle-income country such as Vietnam. Harm reduction programs implemented by community-based organization staff may provide a way to rapidly address aspects of the current MA epidemic. Such programs could emphasize social support for reducing use where possible and for avoiding escalation of use among persons continuing to use.

Thick trust, thin trust, social capital, and health outcomes among trans women of color in New York City

Hwahng, S. J., Allen, B., Zadoretzky, C., Barber Doucet, H., McKnight, C., & Des Jarlais, D.

Publication year

2021

Journal title

International Journal of Transgender Health
Abstract
Abstract
Introduction: Many trans women of color communities experience high HIV seroprevalence, extreme poverty, high rates of victimization and substance use, and poor mental health. Greater knowledge of trans women of color social capital may contribute toward more effective services for this marginalized population. Methods: These data come from a mixed-methods study that examined trans/gender-variant people of color who attended transgender support groups at harm reduction programs in NYC. The study was conducted from 2011 to 12, total N = 34. The qualitative portion was derived from six focus group interviews. Results: Two support groups stood out as exhibiting very strong alternative kinship structures. One group was comprised of immigrant trans Latinas, and the other group were trans women of African descent living with HIV. Both groups demonstrated ample cultivation of “trust capital” in the form of “thick trust” (bonding capital) and “thin trust” (bridging/linking capital) both inside and outside/beyond the support groups. Thick trust included the cultivation of intimacy, support in primary romantic relationships, and community leadership. Thin trust included networking with a variety of organizations, increased educational opportunities, and cultural production. Discussion: Participants “opened up to social capital” through the process of trusting as a series of (1) risks; (2) vulnerabilities; and (3) reciprocities. A solid foundation of thick trust resulted in a social, psychological, and emotional “base.” Upon this foundation, thin trust was operationalized resulting in positive material, economic, and quality-of-life outcomes, leading to an expanded space of capabilities.

Associations between methamphetamine use and lack of viral suppression among a cohort of HIV-positive persons who inject drugs in Hai Phong, Vietnam

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Publication year

2020

Journal title

AIDS

Volume

34

Issue

13

Page(s)

1875-1882
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: We assessed the association between methamphetamine use and lack of viral suppression among a cohort of HIV-seropositive persons who inject drugs (PWID) in Hai Phong, Vietnam. Design: Cohort study with random effects logit modeling and mediation analysis for antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence. Methods: PWID were recruited from October 2016 to October 2017; HIV-seropositive PWID were enrolled in a cohort to assess HIV viral loads, changes in drug use, risk behaviors, and ART adherence during 24-month follow-up. Methamphetamine use in last 30 days was divided into three categories: 0 days (no use), 1 – 19 days (intermediate), and 20 or more days (heavy). Bivariate and a multivariable random effects logit models were used to assess the relationship between methamphetamine use and not being virally suppressed. We also assessed self-reported ART adherence as a mediating factor. Results: A total of 645 HIV-seropositive PWID were included at baseline; 95% male, average age 40 (SD ¼ 6.4). At baseline, methamphetamine use in last 30 days was 64% no use, 32% intermediate use, 4% heavy use. Approximately 74% of PWID reported high/complete adherence; 76% were at viral suppression. In random effects analysis, recent methamphetamine use was associated with not being virally suppressed during follow-up (adjusted odds ratio: 1.84, 95% confidence interval: 1.06, 3.17); the effect was not explained by a mediating effect of self-reported adherence to ART. Conclusion: Recent methamphetamine use is associated with not being virally suppressed among PWID. The results of this study indicate the need for targeted interventions for methamphetamine use with special focus on those with HIV infection.

Cost-effectiveness of direct antiviral agents for hepatitis c virus infection and a combined intervention of syringe access and medication-assisted therapy for opioid use disorders in an injection drug use population

Stevens, E. R., Nucifora, K. A., Hagan, H., Jordan, A. E., Uyei, J., Khan, B., Dombrowski, K., Des Jarlais, D., & Scott Braithwaite, R.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Clinical Infectious Diseases

Volume

70

Issue

12

Page(s)

2652-2662
Abstract
Abstract
Background: There are too many plausible permutations and scale-up scenarios of combination hepatitis C virus (HCV) interventions for exhaustive testing in experimental trials. Therefore, we used a computer simulation to project the health and economic impacts of alternative combination intervention scenarios for people who inject drugs (PWID), focusing on direct antiviral agents (DAA) and medication-assisted treatment combined with syringe access programs (MAT+). Methods. We performed an allocative efficiency study, using a mathematical model to simulate the progression of HCV in PWID and its related consequences. We combined 2 previously validated simulations to estimate the cost-effectiveness of intervention strategies that included a range of coverage levels. Analyses were performed from a health-sector and societal perspective, with a 15-year time horizon and a discount rate of 3%. Results. From a health-sector perspective (excluding criminal justice system-related costs), 4 potential strategies fell on the cost-efficiency frontier. At 20% coverage, DAAs had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of $27 251/quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). Combinations of DAA at 20% with MAT+ at 20%, 40%, and 80% coverage had ICERs of $165 985/QALY, $325 860/ QALY, and $399 189/QALY, respectively. When analyzed from a societal perspective (including criminal justice system-related costs), DAA at 20% with MAT+ at 80% was the most effective intervention and was cost saving. While DAA at 20% with MAT+ at 80% was more expensive (eg, less cost saving) than MAT+ at 80% alone without DAA, it offered a favorable value compared to MAT+ at 80% alone ($23 932/QALY). Conclusions. When considering health-sector costs alone, DAA alone was the most cost-effective intervention. However, with criminal justice system-related costs, DAA and MAT+ implemented together became the most cost-effective intervention.

Daily heroin injection and psychiatric disorders: A cross-sectional survey among People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in Haiphong, Vietnam

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Publication year

2020

Journal title

Drug and alcohol dependence

Volume

216
Abstract
Abstract
Background: Psychiatric comorbidities are frequent among people who inject drugs, they are associated with a poorer prognosis and need to be addressed. Their interaction with daily heroin injection requires clarification. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among PWID recruited in the city of Haiphong, Vietnam, by respondent-driven sampling. The inclusion criteria were age 18 or older and current injection drug use, verified by skin marks and positive urine tests for heroin or methamphetamine. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, drug use, sexual behaviour and access to treatment were collected using face-to-face questionnaires by trained interviewers. PWID were screened by trained psychiatrists for depression, psychotic disorder and suicidality, using the MINI questionnaire. Results: 418 participants were included in the analyses. All were injected heroin users, 21 % were diagnosed with a current major depressive disorder, 15 % with a current psychotic disorder and 12 % presented a suicide risk. In the bivariate analyses, regular meth use, cannabis use and ketamine use were positively associated with presenting at least one psychiatric condition while daily heroin injection and being currently treated with methadone were negatively associated. In the multivariate model, poly-substance use was positively associated with depression (methamphetamine and drinking in addition to heroin) and psychotic disorder (methamphetamine and/or hazardous drinking in addition to heroin) while daily heroin injection and current methadone treatment were negatively and independently associated with depression and psychotic syndrome. Conclusions: Our survey confirms the burden of methamphetamine use and the protective effect of methadone but also a possible protective effect of daily heroin injection.

DSM-5 substance use disorder symptom clusters and HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence

Ending an HIV epidemic among persons who inject drugs in a middle-income country: Extremely low HIV incidence among persons who inject drugs in Hai Phong, Viet Nam

Des Jarlais, D. C., Huong, D. T., Oanh, K. T. H., Feelemyer, J. P., Arasteh, K., Khue, P. M., Giang, H. T., Thanh, N. T. T., Vinh, V. H., Le, S. M., Vallo, R., Quillet, C., Rapoud, D., Michel, L., Laureillard, D., Moles, J. P., & Nagot, N.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

AIDS

Volume

34

Issue

15

Page(s)

2305-2311
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: To determine whether it is possible to ‘end an HIV epidemic’ among persons who inject drugs (PWID) in a low/middle income country. Design: Serial cross-sectional surveys with a cohort of HIV seronegative participants with 6-month follow-up visits recruited from surveys. Methods: Surveys of PWID using respondent driven and snowball sampling were conducted in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 (N ¼ 1383, 1451, 1444, and 1268). HIV recency testing was used to identify possible seroconversions in the window period prior to study entry. Structured interviews covering drug use histories, current drug use, and use of HIV-related services were administered by trained interviewers. Urinalysis was used to confirm current drug use. HIV and hepatitis C virus testing were conducted. Electronic fingerprint readers were used to avoid multiple participation in each survey and to link participants across surveys. A cohort of HIV seronegative participants with 6-month follow-up visits was recruited from the surveys, 480 from 2016, 233 from 2017, and 213 from 2018. Results: Participants were predominantly male (95%), mean age approximately 40, all reported injecting heroin, HIV prevalence ranged between 26 and 30%. We had three seroconversions in 1483 person-years at risk (PYAR) in the cohort study, and 0 in 696 PYAR among repeat survey participants, and 0 seroconversions in 1344 PYAR in recency testing. Overall HIV incidence was 0.085/100 PYAR, 95% confidence interval 0.02 – 0.25/100 PYAR. Conclusion: The data from Hai Phong clearly demonstrate that it is possible to achieve very low HIV incidence – ‘end an HIV epidemic’ – among PWID in a middle-income country.

Expansion of syringe service programs in the United States, 2015-2018

Des Jarlais, D. C., Feelemyer, J., Arasteh, K., LaKosky, P., & Szymanowski, K.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

American journal of public health

Volume

110

Issue

4

Page(s)

517-519
Abstract
Abstract
Objectives. To report on the expansion of syringe service programs (SSPs) in the United States from 2015 to 2018. Methods. We obtained data from records of the Buyers' Club of the Dave Purchase Project/North American Syringe Exchange Network (NASEN), including the number of US SSPs and the numbers of sterile syringes purchased by programs. We conducted a subset analysis of states with high numbers of counties defined as "vulnerable" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Results. SSP participation in the Buyers' Club increased from 141 in 2015 to 292 in 2018, with an increase in syringes purchased from 42 million to 88 million. In addition to these large increases in numbers of programs and in syringes purchased, there were also indications of instability among new programs in vulnerable states. Conclusions. There have been substantial increases in the number of programs established and the number of syringes distributed in response to the opioid epidemic. Ensuring high-quality services in these new programs will be critical to successfully addressing the current epidemic.

Hepatitis C incidence and prevalence among Puerto Rican people who use drugs in New York City

High-risk behaviors and their association with awareness of HIV status among participants of a large-scale prevention intervention in Athens, Greece

Pavlopoulou, I. D., Dikalioti, S. K., Gountas, I., Sypsa, V., Malliori, M., Pantavou, K., Jarlais, D. D., Nikolopoulos, G. K., & Hatzakis, A.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

BMC public health

Volume

20

Issue

1
Abstract
Abstract
Background: Aristotle was a seek-test-treat intervention during an outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Athens, Greece that started in 2011. The aims of this analysis were: (1) to study changes of drug injection-related and sexual behaviors over the course of Aristotle; and (2) to compare the likelihood of risky behaviors among PWID who were aware and unaware of their HIV status. Methods: Aristotle (2012-2013) involved five successive respondent-driven sampling rounds of approximately 1400 PWID each; eligible PWID could participate in multiple rounds. Participants were interviewed using a questionnaire, were tested for HIV, and were classified as HIV-positive aware of their status (AHS), HIV-positive unaware of their status (UHS), and HIV-negative. Piecewise linear generalized estimating equation models were used to regress repeatedly measured binary outcomes (high-risk behaviors) against covariates. Results: Aristotle recruited 3320 PWID (84.5% males, median age 34.2 years). Overall, 7110 interviews and blood samples were collected. The proportion of HIV-positive first-time participants who were aware of their HIV infection increased from 21.8% in round A to 36.4% in the last round. The odds of dividing drugs at least half of the time in the past 12 months with a syringe someone else had already used fell from round A to B by 90% [Odds Ratio (OR) (95% Confidence Interval-CI): 0.10 (0.04, 0.23)] among AHS and by 63% among UHS [OR (95% CI): 0.37 (0.19, 0.72)]. This drop was significantly larger (p = 0.02) among AHS. There were also decreases in frequency of injection and in receptive syringe sharing in the past 12 months but they were not significantly different between AHS (66 and 47%, respectively) and UHS (63 and 33%, respectively). Condom use increased only among male AHS from round B to the last round [OR (95% CI): 1.24 (1.01, 1.52)]. Conclusions: The prevalence of risky behaviors related to drug injection decreased in the context of Aristotle. Knowledge of HIV infection was associated with safer drug injection-related behaviors among PWID. This highlights the need for comprehensive interventions that scale-up HIV testing and help PWID become aware of their HIV status.

HIV control programs reduce HIV incidence but not HCV incidence among people who inject drugs in HaiPhong, Vietnam

Molès, J. P., Vallo, R., Khue, P. M., Huong, D. T., Oanh, K. T. H., Thoa, N. T., Giang, H. T., Thanh, N. T. T., Vinh, V. H., Bui Thi, T. A., Peries, M., Arasteh, K., Quillet, C., Feelemyer, J., Michel, L., Jarlais, D. D., Laureillard, D., & Nagot, N.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Scientific reports

Volume

10

Issue

1
Abstract
Abstract
In Vietnam, harm reduction programs to control HIV among people who inject drugs (PWID) were implemented approximately 10 years ago. Since then, the HIV prevalence has declined in this population, however, the impact of these programs on the rate of new HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) infections remains unknown as high mortality can exceed the rate of new infections. We evaluated HIV and HCV incidences in a cohort of active PWID in HaiPhong in 2014, who were recruited from a community-based respondent driven sampling (RDS) survey and followed for 1 year. Only HIV-negative or HCV-negative participants not on medication assisted treatment (MAT) were eligible. HIV/HCV serology was tested at enrollment and at 32- and 64-week follow-up visits. Among 603 RDS participants, 250 were enrolled in the cohort, including 199 HIV seronegative and 99 HCV seronegative PWID. No HIV seroconversion was reported during the 206 person-years (PY) of follow-up (HIV incidence of 0/100PY, one-sided 97.5%CI:0-1.8/100 PY). Eighteen HCV seroconversions were reported for an incidence of 19.4/100 PY (95%CI;11.5-30.7). In multivariate analysis, “Injecting more than twice daily” was associated with HCV seroconversion with an adjusted odds ratio of 5.8 (95%CI;1.8–18.1). In Hai Phong, in a context that demonstrates the effectiveness of HIV control programs, the HCV incidence remains high. New strategies such as mass access to HCV treatment should be evaluated in order to tackle HCV transmission among PWID.

HIV outbreaks among people who inject drugs in Europe, North America, and Israel

HIV Treatment Knowledge in the Context of “Treatment as Prevention” (TasP)

Mortgage Discrimination and Racial/Ethnic Concentration Are Associated with Same-Race/Ethnicity Partnering among People Who Inject Drugs in 19 US Cities

Linton, S. L., Cooper, H. L., Chen, Y. T., Khan, M. A., Wolfe, M. E., Ross, Z., Des Jarlais, D. C., Friedman, S. R., Tempalski, B., Broz, D., Semaan, S., Wejnert, C., & Paz-Bailey, G.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Journal of Urban Health

Volume

97

Issue

1

Page(s)

88-104
Abstract
Abstract
Racial/ethnic homophily in sexual partnerships (partners share the same race/ethnicity) has been associated with racial/ethnic disparities in HIV. Structural racism may partly determine racial/ethnic homophily in sexual partnerships. This study estimated associations of racial/ethnic concentration and mortgage discrimination against Black and Latino residents with racial/ethnic homophily in sexual partnerships among 7847 people who inject drugs (PWID) recruited from 19 US cities to participate in CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance. Racial/ethnic concentration was defined by two measures that respectively compared ZIP code-level concentrations of Black residents to White residents and Latino residents to White residents, using the Index of Concentration at the Extremes. Mortgage discrimination was defined by two measures that respectively compared county-level mortgage loan denial among Black applicants to White applicants and mortgage loan denial among Latino applicants to White applicants, with similar characteristics (e.g., income, loan amount). Multilevel logistic regression models were used to estimate associations. Interactions of race/ethnicity with measures of racial/ethnic concentration and mortgage discrimination were added to the final multivariable model and decomposed into race/ethnicity-specific estimates. In the final multivariable model, among Black PWID, living in ZIP codes with higher concentrations of Black vs. White residents and counties with higher mortgage discrimination against Black residents was associated with higher odds of homophily. Living in counties with higher mortgage discrimination against Latino residents was associated with lower odds of homophily among Black PWID. Among Latino PWID, living in ZIP codes with higher concentrations of Latino vs. White residents and counties with higher mortgage discrimination against Latino residents was associated with higher odds of homophily. Living in counties with higher mortgage discrimination against Black residents was associated with lower odds of homophily among Latino PWID. Among White PWID, living in ZIP codes with higher concentrations of Black or Latino residents vs. White residents was associated with lower odds of homophily, but living in counties with higher mortgage discrimination against Black residents was associated with higher odds of homophily. Racial/ethnic segregation may partly drive same race/ethnicity sexual partnering among PWID. Future empirical evidence linking these associations directly or indirectly (via place-level mediators) to HIV/STI transmission will determine how eliminating discriminatory housing policies impact HIV/STI transmission.

Presenting a conceptual framework for an HIV prevention and care continuum and assessing the feasibility of empirical measurement in Estonia: A case study

Uuskula, A., Vickerman, P., Raag, M., Walker, J., Paraskevis, D., Eritsyan, K., Sypsa, V., Lioznov, D., Avi, R., & Jarlais, D. D.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

PloS one

Volume

15

Issue

10
Abstract
Abstract
Objective We aim to show the feasibility of using an integrated prevention and care continuum (PCC) model as a complete and improved tool for HIV control measurement and programming. Alignment of prevention and care continua is essential to further improve health outcomes and minimize HIV transmission risk. Design Cross-sectional study. Methods Data from 977 persons who inject drugs (PWID) collected in 2011-2016 in Tallinn, Estonia, were used to construct an HIV PCC for PWID, stratified by risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV infection and by coverage of combined interventions. We also estimated the average protective effect of current levels of intervention provision. Results 74.4%, 20.3% and 35.2% of PWID were currently using needle and syringe programmes (NSP), drug treatment and HIV testing, respectively. 51.1% of current PWID were HIV seropositive and of those 62.5% were currently on ART and 19.0% were virally suppressed. Across the PCC, individuals moved between categories of being aware and ever using drug treatment (resulting in -50% "leakage"); from ever having used to currently using drug treatment (-59%); between "ever testing"and "current (continuous) testing"(-62%); and from self-reported antiretroviral therapy (ART) adherence to viral suppression (-70%). Use of prevention services was higher among those at risk of transmission (HIV positive). The overall reduction in acquisition risk among HIV-negative PWID was 77.7% (95% CrI 67.8-84.5%), estimated by the modelled protective effects of current levels of NSP, drug treatment and ART compared to none of these services. Conclusions Our findings suggest that developing a cohesive model for HIV prevention and treatment is feasible and reflects the bi-directional relationships between prevention and care. The integrated continuum model indicates the major factors which may predict the epidemic course and control response.

Reasons people who use opioids do not accept or carry no-cost naloxone: Qualitative interview study

Bennett, A. S., Freeman, R., Des Jarlais, D. C., & Aronson, I. D.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

JMIR Formative Research

Volume

4

Issue

12
Abstract
Abstract
Background: Many people use opioids and are at risk of overdose. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist used to counter the effects of opioid overdose. There is an increased availability of naloxone in New York City; however, many who use opioids decline no-cost naloxone even when offered. Others may have the medication but opt not to carry it and report that they would be reluctant to administer it if they were to witness an overdose. Objective: We aim to better understand why people who use opioids may be reluctant to accept, carry, and administer naloxone, and to inform the development of messaging content that addresses barriers to its acceptance and use. Methods: We conducted formative qualitative interviews with 20 people who use opioids who are 18 years and older in New York City. Participants were recruited via key informants and chain referral. Results: Participants cited 4 main barriers that may impede rates of naloxone acceptance, possession, and use: (1) stigma related to substance use, (2) indifference toward overdose, (3) fear of negative consequences of carrying naloxone, and (4) fear of misrecognizing the need for naloxone. Participants also offered suggestions about messaging content to tackle the identified barriers, including messages designed to normalize naloxone possession and use, encourage shared responsibility for community health, and elicit empathy for people who use drugs. Taken together, participants’ narratives hold implications for the following potential messaging content: (1) naloxone is short-acting, and withdrawal sickness does not have to be long-lasting; (2) it is critical to accurately identify an opioid-involved overdose; (3) anyone can overdose; (4) naloxone cannot do harm; and (5) the prompt administration of the medication can help ensure that someone can enjoy another day. Finally, participants suggested that messaging should also debunk myths and stereotypes about people who use drugs more generally; people who use opioids who reverse overdoses should be framed as lay public health advocates and not just “others” to be managed with stigmatizing practices and language. Conclusions: It must be made a public health priority to get naloxone to people who use opioids who are best positioned to reverse an overdose, and to increase the likelihood that they will carry naloxone and use it when needed. Developing, tailoring, and deploying messages to address stigma, indifference toward overdose, fear and trepidation about reversing an overdose, and fear of police involvement may help alleviate fears among some people who are reluctant to obtain naloxone and use the medication on someone in an overdose situation.

Towards HCV elimination among people who inject drugs in Hai Phong, Vietnam: Study protocol for an effectiveness-implementation trial evaluating an integrated model of HCV care (DRIVE-C: DRug use & Infections in ViEtnam-hepatitis C)

Rapoud, D., Quillet, C., Pham Minh, K., Vu Hai, V., Nguyen Thanh, B., Nham Thi Tuyet, T., Tran Thi, H., Molès, J. P., Vallo, R., Michel, L., Feelemyer, J., Weiss, L., Lemoine, M., Vickerman, P., Fraser, H., Duong Thi, H., Khuat Thi Hai, O., Des Jarlais, D., Nagot, N., & Laureillard, D.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

BMJ open

Volume

10

Issue

11
Abstract
Abstract
Introduction In Vietnam, people who inject drugs (PWID), who are the major population infected by hepatitis C virus (HCV), remain largely undiagnosed and unlinked to HCV prevention and care despite recommended universal hepatitis C treatment. The data on the outcomes of HCV treatment among PWID also remain limited in resource-limited settings. The DRug use & Infections in ViEtnam-hepatitis C (DRIVE-C) study examines the effectiveness of a model of hepatitis C screening and integrated care targeting PWID that largely uses community-based organisations (CBO) in Hai Phong, Vietnam. In a wider perspective, this model may have the potential to eliminate HCV among PWID in this city. Methods and analysis The model of care comprises large community-based mass screening, simplified treatment with direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) and major involvement of CBO for PWID reaching out, linkage to care, treatment adherence and prevention of reinfection. The effectiveness of DAA care strategy among PWID, the potential obstacles to widespread implementation and its impact at population level will be assessed. A cost-effectiveness analysis is planned to further inform policy-makers. The enrolment target is 1050 PWID, recruited from the DRIVE study in Hai Phong. After initiation of pan-genotypic treatment consisting of sofosbuvir and daclatasvir administrated for 12 weeks, with ribavirin added in cases of cirrhosis, participants are followed-up for 48 weeks. The primary outcome is the proportion of patients with sustained virological response at week 48, that will be compared with a theoretical expected rate of 70%. Ethics and dissemination The study was approved by Haiphong University of Medicine and Pharmacy's Ethics Review Board and the Vietnamese Ministry of Health. The sponsor and the investigators are committed to conducting this study in accordance with ethics principles contained in the World Medical Association's Declaration of Helsinki (Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects). Informed consent is obtained before study enrolment. The data are anonymised and stored in a secure database. The study is ongoing. Results will be presented at international conferences and submitted to international peer-review journals. Trial registration number NCT03537196.

Towards Targeted Interventions in Low- And Middle-Income Countries: Risk Profiles of People Who Inject Drugs in Haiphong (Vietnam)

Riondel, A., Huong, D. T., Michel, L., Peries, M., Oanh, K. T. H., Khue, P. M., Thanh, N. T. T., Giang, H. T., Vallo, R., Cournil, A., Rapoud, D., Quillet, C., Laureillard, D., Vinh, V. H., Moles, J. P., Feelemyer, J., Hammett, T., Jarlais, D. D., & Nagot, N.

Publication year

2020

Journal title

BioMed Research International

Volume

2020
Abstract
Abstract
People who inject drugs (PWID) are a dominant risk group afflicted by blood-borne viruses, mental health disorders, and social precariousness. Risk reduction interventions are administered to PWID regardless of their characteristics or specific risks. The objective of this cross-sectional analysis was to empirically identify profiles of PWID regarding their drug use, risk behaviors, and mental health in order to tailor adapted interventions taking into account limited access to comprehensive care in middle-income countries. PWID were recruited using respondent-driven sampling. PWID with urine testing positive for heroin or methamphetamine and manifesting recent skin injection marks were enrolled. Classification of participants was based on drug use, injection, risky sexual behavior, and mental health data. This was subjected to multiple correspondence analysis followed by hierarchical cluster analysis combined with K-means methodology. From October 2016 to January 2017, 1490 participants were recruited of which 1383 were eligible and enrolled. HCV prevalence was 70.5% and HIV prevalence 29.4%. The cluster analysis identified five distinct profiles: profile 1: recent injection practices and high alcohol consumption, profile 2: at-risk injection and sexual behaviors with precarious situations, profile 3: no sexual activity and older age, profile 4: frequent injections with high methamphetamine use, and profile 5: stable partnerships and less frequent injections. Our study has identified profiles of PWID at particularly high risks, and they should thus be targeted for interventions tailored to their specific risks.

Alternative kinship structures, resilience and social support among immigrant trans Latinas in the USA

Hwahng, S. J., Allen, B., Zadoretzky, C., Barber, H., McKnight, C., & Des Jarlais, D.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

Culture, Health and Sexuality

Volume

21

Issue

1

Page(s)

1-15
Abstract
Abstract
Latinas comprise the largest racial/ethnic group of trans women (male-to-female transgender people) in New York City, where HIV seroprevalence among trans Latinas has been found to be as high as 49%. Despite this population’s high risk of HIV, little is known about resilience among trans Latinas that may provide protective health factors. Six focus groups and one in-depth interview were conducted with 34 low-income trans/gender-variant people of colour who attended transgender support groups at harm reduction programmes in New York City. This paper reports on data from 13 participants who identified as immigrant trans Latinas. Focus groups were coded and analysed using thematic qualitative methods. The majority of immigrants were undocumented but reported having robust social support. Unique characteristics of immigrant trans Latinas included alternative kinship structures and sources of income. Social creativity was used to develop achievable ways in which to improve their health outcomes. Resilience was evident in informal kinship dynamics, formal support groups, gender-transition, educational access and skills training and substance use reduction. Individual-level resilience increased as a result of strong community-level resilience.

Feasibility of a simple and scalable cognitive-behavioral intervention to treat problem substance use

Barnes, D. M., & Des Jarlais, D.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

Journal of Substance Use

Volume

24

Issue

6

Page(s)

693-695
Abstract
Abstract
Our proof-of-concept study tested a simple cognitive-behavioral strategy to help people achieve substance use goals–using non-first person self-talk when facing substance use cues or cravings–based on experimental psychology research that draws on the concept of self-distancing and is consistent with mindfulness principles.  We evaluated participants’ understanding, use, and utility of the intervention at follow-up. Method: We recruited 17 New York City residents who used drugs non-medically. At baseline, we collected demographic and substance use data and conducted the intervention. At one-week follow-up, participants were asked about their understanding, use, and perceived utility of the intervention, and asked to complete an anonymous five-item assessment of the intervention. Results: Sixteen participants completed follow-up. Understanding was judged “acceptable” or better for 15; 11 used their scripts during follow-up; four described their scripts as very useful, one as moderately, five as a little, and one as not useful. Nine returned assessments; ratings were strongly favorable. Conclusions: Results from our pilot are encouraging and point to further research on this intervention. The intervention is suitable for integration into longer-term therapy and we envision non-first person self-talk as one strategy alongside others individuals can employ to moderate their substance use.

Geographic distribution of risk ("Hotspots") for HIV, HCV, and drug overdose among persons who use drugs in New York City: The importance of local history

Des Jarlais, D. C., McKnight, C., Arasteh, K., Feelemyer, J., Ross, Z., & Cooper, H. L.

Publication year

2019

Journal title

Harm Reduction Journal

Volume

16

Issue

1
Abstract
Abstract
Aims: To identify geographic "hotspots" for potential transmission of HIV and HCV and for drug overdose among persons who use heroin and cocaine in New York City and to examine historical continuities in problem drug use hotspots in the city. Methods: A total of 2714 study participants were recruited among persons entering Beth Israel substance use treatment programs. A structured questionnaire was administered and blood samples for HIV and HCV testing were collected. Hotspots for potential virus transmission were defined as ZIP codes with 10+ participants, 2+ persons infected with the virus and engaging in transmission behavior, and 2+ persons not infected and engaging in acquisition behavior. ZIP codes with 3+ persons with previous overdoses were considered potential hotspots for future overdoses. Results: Participants resided in 166/178 (93%) of the ZIP codes in New York City. Injecting drug use was reported in 150/178 (84%) of the ZIP codes. No zip codes were identified for injecting-related HIV transmission, 5 zip codes were identified for sexual HIV transmission, 3 for HCV transmission, and 8 for drug overdose. Many of the ZIP code potential hotspots were in neighborhoods long associated with drug use: Lower Eastside and Harlem in Manhattan, the South Bronx, and Central Brooklyn. Discussion: Heroin and cocaine use requiring treatment were reported from almost all ZIP codes in New York City, indicating needs for widely dispersed harm reduction services. Identified hotspots should be targeted for reducing sexual transmission of HIV, transmission of HCV, and drug overdoses. Some of the hotspots have persisted as problem drug use areas for 40 to over 100 years. Monitoring of drug use patterns in historical hotspot neighborhoods may permit early identification of and response to emerging drug use-related health problems. Persistent historical hotspots for problem drug use present a complex problem for implementing harm reduction services that deserve additional research.

Contact

ddj2@nyu.edu 665 Broadway Suite 800 New York, NY 10012