A Brief Note On Drug Injection Migrant Workers

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Tajikistan is also the most remittance dependent country in the world, with inflows from Russia accounting for an estimated $4.1 billion per year or 48% of its GDP (World Bank 2013). According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly half the working-age Tajik men are in Russia, with the majority being illegal migrants which precludes them from accessing many services including health care (IOM, 2013).

IDUs often migrate to other regions or countries for reasons including employment, security and access to narcotics. Like other migrant workers, IDUs are often faced with great adversity resulting from social marginalization, legality of migration status, and disruption of social networks. Drug injection migrant workers in
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Eritsyan et al (2013) reported that up to 60% of IDUs in two Russian cities have sexual partnerships with non-IDU populations and engage in unsafe sexual practices with these partners. Other experts have argued that the effect of epidemiological bridging may be mitigated by sexual and needle/syringe serosorting amongst egocentric networks although the underlying mechanism for this is complex (Mizuno et al, 2010, Yang et al 2011).

Knowledge of HIV serostatus is generally low among drug users. For example, Rhodes et al (2002) estimated that only 26% of HIV positive IDUs were aware of their status in Togliatti, Russia. Similar findings have more recently been published, with Niccolai et al (2010) reporting that 24% of IDUs in St. Petersburg knew their status. The estimated HIV prevalence among injection Tajik migrant workers is estimated to be much higher due to increased social exclusion which enhances their chances of joining riskier egocentric networks (Mahbat and Levy 2013).

Poor health outcomes among IDUs are further aggravated by high prevalence of co-morbid conditions like viral hepatitis, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, poor nutrition and alcoholic hepatitis. Viral hepatitis is a major source of concern with various experts estimating that between 60% and 90% of the IDUs in Russia have concurrent Hepatitis C Virus infections (Beyrer et al, 2011).

The illegal migration status, criminalization of drug use, violent street
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