Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 136  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 54-63

An exploratory analysis of spatial mobility of injection drug users in the northeast region of India

1 National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR), Chennai, India
2 National AIDS Research Institute (ICMR), Pune, India
3 Family Health International, New Delhi, India
4 Regional Medical Research Centre (ICMR), Dibrugarh, India
5 Regional Institute of Medical Science, Imphal, India
6 Kripa Foundation, Kohima, India

Correspondence Address:
Vasna Joshua
National Institute of Epidemiology (ICMR), R127, 3rd Avenue, Tamil Nadu Housing Board, Ayapakkam, Chennai 600 077
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background & objectives: Injection drug users (IDUs) are generally a mobile group who engage in risky behaviour not only in their locale but also outside areas. The IDUs of the northeast region of India form the major victims of HIV/AIDS infections. Hence an attempt was made to explore their mobility pattern of networking and risky behaviour. Methods: A large cross-sectional Integrated Behavioural and Biological Assessment survey (IBBA) was conducted among 1699 IDUs in four districts (Bishnupur and Churachandpur of Manipur; Phek and Wokha of Nagaland) in the northeast region of India by India AIDS initiative, the Avahan during January and May 2006. The mobility patterns of the IDUs were viewed as two different types, mobility of networking and frequent mobility. The networking mobility has been portrayed using exploratory spatial analysis. The frequently mobile IDUs profile, risky behaviour, HIV and other infections are discussed based on the RDSAT estimates. The volume of mobility and their average movement were also studied. Results: More than 48 per cent of the IDUs had networked far and wide outside their places of residence. One fourth or more of the mobile IDUs were young, more than 35 per cent were literate, more than one fourth were unemployed and nearly 31 per cent or more were living alone. The frequently mobile IDUs risky behaviour was two times higher compared to the non-mobile IDUs (except in Phek district). The average movements of IDUs who had at least one movement inside and outside the district were higher in Wokha district. Interpretation & conclusions: The pattern of networking and the mobile IDUs risky behaviour showed an alarming signal. Mobility being a general phenomenon, the attention towards their surrogate risky factors had to be focussed to control the spatial epidemic wave.

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