Wednesday, February 17, 2010

HIV Counseling and Testing in Prisons

The WHO and UNAIDS have released new guidance on offering HIV counseling and testing in prisons. The technical paper and policy brief can be found at:

IDU in many countries face mandatory HIV counseling and testing (HCT) in prisons. They are not offered quality counseling and are not provided their test results. Advocacy around improved HCT is an important step in scaling up comprehensive harm reduction for IDU. These documents can be a helpful guides as individual country programs conduct advocacy with law enforcement and seek to improve services offered within prisons. Shifting perception of drug use from a public security concern to a public health concern takes time and advocating for comprehensive harm reduction in prisons is a major step in the right direction.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hepatitis C and Syringes with Detachable Needles

A new study coming out of Yale has found the Hepatitis C virus survives in syringes with detachable needles longer than in syringes with an attached needle (i.e. an insulin syringe). Prior to this study, cohort studies among IDU populations in the US have found a higher HIV prevalence among populations using syringes with detachable needles than in those using a syringe with an attached needle.

Combined, these studies send a powerful message about needle and syringe distribution. Wherever possible, IDU should be encouraged to use syringes with an attached needle. A few thoughts for your programs:

1) Continue to meet the local IDU population with a needle/syringe that they will accept and use. The most important behavior is to ensure IDU are using sterile needles and syringes. If the local IDU population will not use a syringe with an attached needle, do not stop distributing the type of syringe/needle they will use.

2) Wherever possible, peer educators and other outreach workers should counsel IDU about the greater safety offered by a syringe with an attached needle. IDU should be encouraged to use this type of needle.

"Insite" - Vancouver's Supervised Injection Site

With the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, "Insite", Vancouver's supervised injection site has been in the press. Four articles at offer an interesting first hand account of the site. You can find the articles at:

The photo journal that accompanies the articles is particularly interesting:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Injecting Drug Use in Pakistan

In just four years, the HIV prevalence rate among Pakistan's IDU community has increased from 10.8% to nearly 21%. UNAIDS discusses how a lack of resources could impede outreach to this population at:

Check out some great photos taken in the community at:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Harm Reduction 201

The 2010 International Harm Reduction conference is fast approaching! The draft program was released and can be found at:

Looking forward to seeing many of you in Liverpool!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Founding of Asia Network of People Who Use Drugs

Exciting news out of the 2nd Asian Consultation on the Prevention of HIV Related to Drug use. The founding of the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs was formally announced. This is a major step forward in advancing harm reduction in the region. To learn more visit PSI IDU platforms should start considering how we can work closely with ANPUD in program development and implementation.