Providing comprehensive services is vital: UNAIDS

May 17, 2024 12:42 pm

Implementing a harm reduction strategy and providing comprehensive services that reduce the risk of HIV transmission among injecting drug users is vital.

UNAIDS Country Director Fiji and the Pacific Renata Ram says people who use drugs face barriers to accessing healthcare, which are often because of stigma or criminalization.

Ram says the harm reduction services need to be integrated with broader health and social services.

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She adds that the intersection of drug use and HIV infection is a pressing issue that calls for comprehensive processes.

“People who inject drugs are 22 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general population. This is not just a statistic; this is the number that represents millions of lives globally.”

Head of Family Health, Dr Rachel Devi, says this year they have noted an increase in injectable drug use.

She adds that in the HIV context, they are seeing a good proportion of cases coming up, especially with the recognition of drug and HIV relations.

Dr Devi says there have been cases with pregnant women as well.