Factors Effecting HIV Transmission Among Russian Women
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Problem: Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection rate in Russia is exploding faster than anywhere else in the world (Webster, 2003). Although the epidemic affects the entire population, Russian women represent a particularly vulnerable population due to the increased rates of heterosexual transmission and low frequency of barrier contraception use. Objective: To discuss the significance of the problem of HIV among Russian women, and the relevance of the Russian HIV epidemic to nursing. To provide information about current research regarding Russian women and HIV transn1ission, as well as the need for further research. Methods: Reviewing and synthesizing literature using Becker's Health Belief Model as a theoretical framework places the problem of HIV transmission among Russian women in a historical context, and discussing research findings regarding HIV among Russian women. Additional literature reviewed pertaining to HIV transmission in Honduras, Ecuador and Turkey prefaces a discussion of recent unpublished research results that examine the relationship between gender inequality and condom use among the women of Honduras, Ecuador, and Turkey. The research illustrates gender specific factors that correlate with women's decision to use condoms in other developing countries with HIV epidemics. Conclusion: Although the literatllre review revealed the severity ofthe HIV epidemic in Russia, there is still much that has not been studied, particularly with regard to the unique cultural factors affecting HIV transmission among Russian women. Performing a study using the same methodology and the SRPS questionnaire utilized by Schllmann, Grawe, and Schultz (Table 3) would contribute to the body of research and provide data for comparison with findings in other nations facing HIV epidemics. Relevance: Reviewing the synthesis of available literature provides-valuable information about the scope ofthe HIV epidemic facing Russia. A discussion of the need for further nursing research into the specific cultural factors affecting transmission, and determination of more accurate incidence rates will help guide interventions for healthcare workers and enable them to more effectively address the HIV crisis.