Dr. Chris Beyrer has been invited to collaborate with Dr. Nabila El-Bassel and researchers from Columbia University’s Global Health Research Center of Central Asia (GHRCCA) to further examine the risk factors and societal influences on HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) epidemics in Kazakhstan.
This study, A Couples-based HIV/STI Prevention for Injecting Drug Users in Kazakhstan (a.k.a Project Renaissance), that will be conducted from 2008-2013 in Chu, Kazakhstan and was developed in response to the lack of behavioral interventions available to the particularly vulnerable IDU population. The study is enrolling IDUs and their intimate partners (a total of 400 couples) to test the efficacy of a couples-based HIV/STI prevention intervention. The project also aims to increase condom use and reduce unsafe injection practices among the IDUs. This project is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The long-term objective of the studies in Kazakhstan are to enhance the participants’ knowledge of HIV and STI transmission factors and risky behaviors, assess effective HIV prevention methods among high risk populations, as well as inform local officials and organizations so more appropriate and efficacious HIV and STI prevention and treatment programs can be made available to vulnerable populations in Central Asia.