Impact of joined-up HIV harm reduction and multidrug resistant tuberculosis control programmes in Estonia: System dynamics simulation model

Health Policy. 2007 May;81(2-3):207-17. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2006.05.021. Epub 2006 Jul 18.


In Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) the control of tuberculosis, multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) poses important public health challenges. We used system dynamics simulation to determine impact on cumulative HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and HIV-associated-tuberculosis deaths, over 20 years, of harm-reduction programmes to reduce needle-sharing and injection-frequency amongst injecting drug users (IDUs) and multidrug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) control in a population with an explosive HIV epidemic in IDUs and high MDRTB prevalence. We estimate that the number of HIV-associated-deaths will decline by 30% with effective harm-reduction programmes but double if these are ineffective. In our model, effective MDRTB and HIV control reduces cumulative tuberculosis deaths by 54%, cumulative MDRTB deaths 15-fold and cumulative HIV-associated-tuberculosis-deaths 2-fold. Effective MDRTB control, without effective harm-reduction programmes, only reduce tuberculosis deaths by 22%. However, effective harm-reduction programme with a poor MDRTB control reduce cumulative tuberculosis deaths by 34%, MDRTB by 14% and HIV-associated-tuberculosis by 56%. Even with good control programmes for drug sensitive TB, neglecting harm reduction and MDRTB control will result in 50% more tuberculosis-related deaths than if both are effectively addressed. Effective harm-reduction programmes reduces cumulative deaths from tuberculosis more substantively than effective MDRTB control. Our finding have important policy implications for communicable disease policies in post-Soviet countries, which need to substantially change if they are to effectively address the emerging HIV and MDRTB epidemics.

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple*
  • Estonia / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections* / mortality
  • Harm Reduction*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis / mortality
  • Tuberculosis / prevention & control


  • Antitubercular Agents