The study highlighted the vulnerability to HIV of the wives and children of men who inject drugs and suggested urgent action to address their HIV prevention and AIDS treatment needs. This study helped advocate for the inclusion of wives and children of men who inject drugs in HIV prevention programs. The trust built up over the last two decades with drug using communities in Nepal by Youth Vision has been key in accessing the highly sensitive data on which the study findings have been determined.
Eligible men who inject drugs and use services provided by Youth Vision in Kathmandu were offered the opportunity to participate in the study. Of these, one hundred couples (men who currently inject drugs, their wives or intimate partners) were selected and recruited. All study questions were asked of both individuals who formed a couple, using interviewer-assisted memory recall. Both individuals were tested for HIV through VCCT, except those whose HIV status had been confirmed prior to the study.
The study finds Almost 70% of the women (wives and intimate partners of men who inject drugs) were between 18-25 years of age. The study data also indicates that younger couples have more frequent unprotected sex than the older couples interviewed. Younger couples are also more likely to be still in their reproductive age, and thus the risk of mother-to-child transmission should therefore also be urgently considered in prevention campaigns with this population group.