• Journal Article

Social marketing of low dead space syringes in Vietnam: Findings from a 1-year pilot program in Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, and Ho Chi Minh City

Citation

Huong, N. T. T., Mundy, G., Neukom, J., Zule, W., Tuan, N. M., & Tam, N. M. (2015). Social marketing of low dead space syringes in Vietnam: Findings from a 1-year pilot program in Hanoi, Thai Nguyen, and Ho Chi Minh City. Harm Reduction Journal, 12, 15. DOI: 10.1186/s12954-015-0049-y

Abstract

Background: Although a growing body of evidence suggests that low dead space syringes may reduce the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and Hepatitis C virus infection associated with sharing syringes among people who inject drugs, there is little evidence of effective approaches to motivate people who inject drugs (PWID) to shift from high to low dead space syringes. Methods: Using a mix of consumer and trade marketing approaches, informed by rapid assessments of both the syringe market and PWID preferences, practices, and behaviors in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Population Services International (PSI) Vietnam piloted an intervention to increase the use of low dead space syringes (LDSS) in the three provinces of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and Thai Nguyen, where an estimated 31 % of PWID are HIV positive and 58 % are living with hepatitis C virus (HCV). Results: This paper provides a summary of the social marketing activities implemented and results achieved by PSI Vietnam during an initial 1-year pilot period from December 2012 to December 2013 in these three provinces to explore their effectiveness in motivating PWID to use low dead space syringes. We found major increases in sales of LDSS accompanied by increases in reported use and consistent use of LDSS among PWID in the three provinces included in the pilot program and a positive and independent association (odds ratio (OR) 21.08; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 10.6-27.3) between LDSS use and exposure to social marketing activities. We also found that LDSS use had a stronger association with perceptions of LDSS product quality than with perceptions regarding LDSS potential to reduce HIV transmission risk and use. Conclusions: We conclude that social marketing interventions have an important role to play in widening access to and the use of LDSS for PWID, as they address the need for PWID to find LDSS when and where they need them and also promote the benefits of LDSS use to PWID. High coverage of these activities among PWID appears to be the key in achieving these successes