Bio-behavioural survey among PWID in Montenegro

Wednesday, 23 November, 2022 - 09:00 to 19:30


The fourth IBBS survey among people who inject drugs [PWID] was conducted in the capital of Montenegro in 2020. Survey aims were: to assess the prevalence of HIV, Hepatitis B, and C among PWID; to evaluate the coverage and impact of interventions; to estimate the size of PWID population and to enhance advocacy and policy-making.

RDS method was employed, with initial four seeds and up to three recruited peers who underwent screening for eligibility, followed by an informed consent process, a behavioural interview, and biological testing with pre-test counseling. Recruitment chains developed from five to fourteen waves.

PWID population size was estimated by service multiplier and the SS-PSE method.

Prevalence of infectious diseases among PWID is: HIV 0.5%, Hepatitis B antigen 1.4%; anti-Hepatitis C antibodies 65%, HCV RNA (PCR) 48.8%. One in five PWID tested for HIV in the last year; 93,6% used sterile equipment during last injection; 23.6% used condom during the last sex. A third of active injectors are OST clients; heroin was a dominant drug. Seven percent of PWID avoided seeking health services due to fear of stigma and discrimination. More than half of PWID were imprisoned. Estimated size of PWID in Podgorica: 1236 (service multiplier); 1248 (SS-PSE). Although the low intensity of HIV epidemic prevalence among PWID can be attributed to the implementation of preventive measures, the prevalence of anti-HCV antibodies in the population indicates the presence of risk behaviours and the consequent potential for the spread of infections among PWID. The survey showed the necessity of sustaining and further improving services for PWID in Montenegro.



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