Public Health Fact Sheet: Police, Harm Reduction, and HIV. Open Society Institute Public Health Program and International Harm Reduction Development Program (2008)

Public Health Fact Sheet: Police, Harm Reduction, and HIV. Open Society Institute Public Health Program and International Harm Reduction Development Program (2008) Injecting drug users (IDUs) account for the largest share of HIV infections in China, Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, and much of Southeast Asia. Harm reduction measures such as access to clean needles and drug treatment with methadone or buprenorphine have been proven to reduce HIV risk behaviors. Yet law enforcement officials in many countries harass drug users at drug treatment clinics and needle exchange points, confiscate their medications, or arrest them for possession of clean syringes. These police practices help fuel the HIV epidemic by driving drug users away from lifesaving care while doing little to stem drug use. Emerging partnerships between police and health providers prove that law enforcement and HIV prevention programs can work together to save lives while reducing crime.

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