The HIV/AIDS Epidemics in the Former Soviet Union, Central Asia, and Iran
The HIV virus is an obligate intra-cellular parasite: it has no energetic system and no motility beyond that supplied by its human hosts as they engage in the kinds of sexual or drug use risks through which the virus can be transmitted. HIV can only spread, and can only reach epidemic proportions, when its exacting conditions for spread are met by human agents. To reach epidemic proportions its hosts must be in large enough networks of risk to sustain chains of transmission within and across communities. The most recent emergence of epidemic spread of HIV infection has been in the states of the Former Soviet Union including the massive Russian Federation itself, Ukraine, the five Central Asian Republics, and Iran. HIV has found its conditions for rapid epidemic spread met by a convergence of factors and one central reality: the enormous production and output of opiates, principally heroin, from the chaotic Central Asian state of Afghanistan (Beyrer, 2007). These epidemics, as the...
KeywordsHarm Reduction Inject Drug User Former Soviet Union Substitution Therapy Methadone Maintenance Therapy
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