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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


GONZALEZ, M. et al. Injecting drug users from Eastern Europe in Barcelona, Spain. Gac Sanit [online]. 2003, vol.17, n.3, pp.256-258. ISSN 0213-9111.

From May 1999 to May 2001, we made contact with injecting drug users from Eastern Europe in the healthcare and prevention service of the Red Cross (servicio de atención y prevención sociosanitaria [SAPS]) in Barcelona (Spain). The users attended free therapeutic centers, but paid approximately 500 € for the trip. The users were aged between 18 and 30 years old and maintained family contact. The knew the risk of disease transmission, but often exchanged needles. The prevalence of hepatitis C (92%) and B (62%) was high but less than that of HIV (19%). If they did not stop taking drugs their return would be a failure and they would have difficulties in following methadone and antiretroviral treatments in their countries of origin. The healthcare provided in these centers should respond to user' needs: cultural mediation should be sought, as well as information from users' countries of origin. Centers receiving users from other countries should be supervised and alternatives should be designed for users who abandon treatment. International cooperation and programs to reduce the risk of drug consumption should be developed. Treatment should be prevented from becoming a business.

Keywords : Needle exchange; Injecting drug users; Harm reduction; Immigration.

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