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Since 2003, UHRI investigators have maintained a close working relationship with the Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group (TTAG) and the Thai Drug Users Network (TDN). This work has included the preparation of a controversial but successful application to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to develop peer-driven HIV prevention, care, treatment and support programs for people who inject drugs.

UHRI investigators have continued to provide technical support and training for their Thai partners. Most recently, the UHRI team, in collaboration with TTAG, the Mitsampan Harm Reduction Centre (Bangkok) and researchers from Chulalongkorn University initiated a research project titled “HIV Risk Behaviours and Access to Harm Reduction and Treatment Services among Injection Drug Users in Thailand.” The project employed a community-based research approach, with the peer-run Mitsampan Harm Reduction Centre contributing a 15-member team of peer researchers. Using various outreach methods, the peer research team surveyed more than 250 local injection drug users between June and September 2008. The research addresses a range of topics, including access to harm reduction, addiction treatment, and HIV care and treatment programs, as well as participants’ experiences with police and incarceration.


Global Burden of Disease Project

We are pleased to contribute data from our research to the Global Burden of Disease project. Specifically, our research data will assist the GBD in calculating worldwide estimates of cocaine mortality and morbidity according to age and sex.

The first Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study made estimates of incidence, prevalence, and mortality for the year 1990 through analysis of all available data in each region. It was a major step in quantifying effects of diseases, injuries, and risk factors on population health. Results have been widely used to inform debates on priorities for research, development, efforts to better define population health, and policy responses.

The current project is an international collaboration to update those estimates, led by researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Harvard University, University of Queensland, University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University and the World Health Organization.

One of the major goals of the project is to assess illicit drug use as a risk factor for disease, injury and disability, using comparative risk assessment. Researchers at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC) are primarily responsible for collecting data on parameters that will allow estimates of (1) the burden of disease as a result of illicit drug dependence and (2) illicit drug use a risk factor for other diseases and injuries.