Targeting the SAVA (Substance Abuse, Violence, and AIDS) syndemic among women and girls: A global review of epidemiology and integrated interventions
OBJECTIVES: Multiple pathways link gender-based violence (GBV) to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among women and girls who use or inject drugs. The aim of this article is to synthesize global literature that examines associations among the synergistic epidemics of substance abuse, violence, and HIV/AIDS, known as the SAVA syndemic. It also aims to identify a continuum of multilevel integrated interventions that target key SAVA syndemic mechanisms. METHODS: We conducted a selective search strategy, prioritizing use of meta-analytic epidemiological and intervention studies that address different aspects of the SAVA syndemic among women and girls who use drugs worldwide from 2000 to 2015 using PubMed, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar. RESULTS: Robust evidence from different countries suggests that GBV significantly increases the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among women and girls who use drugs. Multiple structural, biological, and behavioral mechanisms link GBV and HIV among women and girls. Emerging research has identified a continuum of brief and extended multilevel GBV prevention and treatment interventions that may be integrated into a continuum of HIV prevention, testing, and treatment interventions to target key SAVA syndemic mechanisms among women and girls who use drugs. CONCLUSIONS: There remain significant methodological and geographical gaps in epidemiological and intervention research on the SAVA syndemic, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. This global review underscores the need to advance a continuum of multilevel integrated interventions that target salient mechanisms of the SAVA syndemic, especially for adolescent girls, young women, and transgender women who use drugs.
Gilbert L, Raj A, Hien D, Stockman J, Terlikbayeva A, Wyatt G.
- Determinants of Health
- Children or Youth (less than 18 years old)
- Drug use behaviours/harm reduction
- Substance Use
- Nonmedicinal drugs
- Mental Health
- Psychiatric disorders