|Drug Abuse and HIV/AIDS: Lessons Learned - Case Studies Booklet - Central and Eastern Europe and the Central Asian States (UNAIDS, 2001, 113 p.)|
The present booklet is a collaborative effort of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) to disseminate lessons learned from practical experience in Central and Eastern Europe and the Central Asian States where injecting drug abuse is a significant and rapidly increasing factor in the transmission of HIV/AIDS. It focuses on the association between drug use and HIV infection and addresses the challenges that professionals and policy makers must confront in shaping national and local policies, developing and implementing preventive policies and providing treatment and rehabilitative services. The booklet is also aimed at governmental and non-governmental organizations and those involved in the planning, coordination and implementation of strategies and programmes for HIV prevention among injecting drug users.
In the booklet, an attempt is made to capture details of a range of practices in order to provide useful lessons and offer references for those working in the field of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention. Owing to time and space constraints, the entries in the booklet represent only some of the project information and reports that were received. It is hoped that the lessons learned will be widely shared so as to contribute to the development of ethically sound and effective responses to the issue of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS prevention in the region.
The booklet responds to the Declaration on the Guiding Principles of Drug Demand Reduction and to the Action Plan for its implementation,1 as well as to several resolutions adopted by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in which the organizations and programmes of the United Nations system, in particular UNDCP, are invited to facilitate the sharing of information on best strategies for the implementation of demand reduction programmes, including the reduction of the negative health and social consequences of drug abuse and the enhancement of assistance to drug users.
The booklet is also a response to the mandate of UNAIDS which, as the main advocate for global action on HIV/AIDS, leads, strengthens and supports expanded action aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic.
UNDCP and UNAIDS are aware that so-called low-threshold and harm reduction interventions are controversial in many environments. They also consider that the term harm reduction has been used as a flag for a variety of causes and, as such, has been given disproportionate attention. In the present booklet, an attempt is made to steer clear of political interpretations of the term and instead to build upon an empirical basis and describe practical experiences aimed at improving the well-being of drug users, reducing individual and public health risks and, in particular, preventing the transmission of HIV/AIDS among drug users.