HIV Among Injection Drug Users and Their Intimate Partners in Almaty, Kazakhstan


Injecting drug use, HIV, Central Asia


This paper examines prevalence rates of HIV, HCV, and syphilis among a sample of injecting drug users (IDUs) and their heterosexual intimate partners (N = 728) from Almaty, Kazakhstan. The study uses baseline data from Project Renaissance, a couple-based HIV prevention intervention delivered to a couple where one or both partners are IDUs. HIV prevalence rates among female and male IDUs were 28 %. Among the full sample, 75 % had HCV, and 13 % tested positive for the syphilis antibody test. Only 10 % of the sample ever visited a needle exchange program. One-fourth (25.3 %) had never been tested for HIV. One-quarter of those who tested positive were unaware of their status. Being HIV positive was associated with a history of incarceration, being an IDU, and having access to needle exchange programs. The findings call for increasing efforts to improve access to HIV testing, prevention, treatment, and care for IDUs in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Original Publication Citation

El-Bassel, N., Gilbert, L., Terlikvayeva, A., Wu, E., Beyrer, C., Shaw, S., Hunt, T., Ma, X., Chang, M. Ismayilova, L., Tukeyev, M., Zhussupov, B., & Rozental, Y. (2013). HIV among injection drug users and their intimate partners in Almaty, Kazakhstan. AIDS & Behavior, 17(7), 2490-500.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


AIDS and Behavior




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Social Work

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor