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This is the Alliance's position paper on HIV, drugs and drug policy in the lead up to the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, 2016.
The sharing of injecting equipment is driving HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) transmission in many parts of the world. Roughly one third of new HIV infections outside sub-Saharan Africa are the result of unsafe injecting. In 2014 alone, an estimated 110,000 people who inject drugs were newly infected with HIV.
The evidence for the effectiveness of harm reduction interventions is described by UNAIDS as irrefutable and all relevant UN agencies now endorse a harm reduction approach to HIV and drug use. Cost-effective harm reduction programmes that use peer-based outreach and feature clean needle and syringe programmes, opiate substitution therapy and HIV testing and treatment are proven to be effective in reducing HIV transmission and other harms such as hepatitis C transmission, crime rates and overdose deaths.
Keywords: HIV, testing, treatment, harm reduction, drug, police harassment, health services