HIV and AIDS in the Russian Federation : prisons as a case study of risk environments and agency
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This thesis explores Russian prisons as risk environments for the spread of HIV through intravenous drug use. The Russian HIV epidemic is extremely fast growing, and though exact prevalence rates are unknown, the epidemic is now considered generalized as estimated prevalence rates exceed one percent of the Russian population. After decades of foreign-aid and interventions in African nations have largely failed to address the HIV epidemic, social scientists now attribute HIV infection to risk environments created by low levels of social cohesion and a lack of agency. Within my research, I explore Russian male prisons and the role risk environments and agency play in the spread of HIV. I review recently published literature, government statistics, as well as reports published by non-governmental organizations. I then analyze and interpret these data, draw conclusions and inferences regarding the spread of HIV within Russian prison risk environments.