Tag Archives: UNAIDS

The world needs a healthier, rights-based approach towards people who use drugs


The world is failing to protect the health and human rights of people who use drugs.

As a result, people who use drugs, especially people who inject drugs, have been isolated and denied the means to protect themselves from HIV, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

Among the estimated 12 million people who inject drugs globally, one in 10 is living with HIV. From 2010 to 2014, there was no decline in the annual number of new HIV infections among people who inject drugs, in contrast to the global trend of declining new HIV infections.

The evidence is overwhelming. The world needs a fresh approach towards people who use drugs that is people-, rights- and health-centered.

Story via 

In a new report, Do no harm: health, human rights and people who use drugs, UNAIDS presents the evidence for what works to reduce the impact of HIV and other harms associated with drug use. Countries that have shifted their focus away from laws and policies that are harmful to people who use drugs and that have increased investment in harm reduction programs have reduced new HIV infections and improved health outcomes.

For example, investment in needle-syringe distribution and opioid substitution therapy has proved effective at reducing the impact of the AIDS epidemic among people who inject drugs in several countries, including China, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Moldova.

China’s free voluntary methadone program piloted in the early 2000s now serves more than 180 000 people. People who inject drugs represented less than 8% of people newly diagnosed with HIV in the country in 2013, compared with 43.9% in 2003. In prisons in the Islamic Republic of Iran, health clinics provide integrated services for the treatment and prevention of sexually transmitted infections and for injecting drug use and HIV, and new HIV cases among people who inject drugs fell from a peak of 1897 in 2005 to 684 in 2013. In the Republic of Moldova, the proportion of prisoners living with HIV having access to antiretroviral medicines has increased from 2% in 2005 to 62% in 2013.

Some countries, such as Australia, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland, have de-penalized the possession and use of small quantities of drugs for personal use, encouraging people who inject drugs to access strengthened harm reduction programs.

UNAIDS would like to see a global adoption of a people-centered, public health and human rights based approach to drug use.

The world cannot continue to ignore what works.

In the coming weeks, the United Nations General Assembly will have two opportunities to consider the weight of evidence supporting a change in approach. This week’s United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem provides an opportunity to refocus international drug policies on their original goal—the health and well-being of humankind. A few weeks later, from 8 to 10 June, the General Assembly will meet again for the High-Level Meeting on Ending AIDS, which must translate commitments to leave no one behind in the AIDS response into measurable progress for people who inject drugs.

There is a unique opportunity to begin to treat people who use drugs with dignity and respect, to provide people who use drugs with equal access to health and social services, to greatly reduce the harms of drug use and to take a step towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Thanks for reading, let us know what you think in the comments below, or you can find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for more!


Or subscribe to our newsletter


Together We Will End AIDS

Entitled Together we will end AIDS, the new UNAIDS report contains the latest data on numbers of new HIV infections, numbers of people receiving antiretroviral treatment, AIDS-related deaths and HIV among children. It highlights new scientific opportunities and social progress which are bringing the world closer to UNAIDS vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

The report also gives an overview of international and domestic HIV investments and the need for greater value for money and sustainability.

Calling for global solidarity and shared responsibility, the UNAIDS report contains commentaries from global and community leaders as well as people living with and affected by HIV.

Download here

Link to UNAIDS Campaign 

Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe via email

A History of HIV & AIDS – 1997

As we prepare to enter our 25th year, we are reflecting on the global HIVevents from the last three decades.  HIV has swept across the globe touching communities on every continent.  Here’s an introduction to some of the key moments in the early global history of HIV.  Catch up on the story using the ‘Recent Posts’ link to the right.

For the first time since the AIDS epidemic became visible in 1981, the number of deaths from AIDS had dropped substantially in the developed world due to the advances of anti HIV medicine and combination therapy.  Within two years, death rates due to AIDS will have plummeted in the developed world. (See 1996 for why)

In New York City the decline was even more dramatic, with the number of people dying from AIDS falling by about 50 per cent compared to the previous year. The number of babies being born HIV positive had also declined dramatically.

In May, President Clinton set a target for the USA to find an AIDS vaccine within ten years.

In August UNAIDS estimated HIV/AIDS cases in India, Myanmar (Burma), Bangladesh and Nepal at 3 million, 350,000, 20,000, and 15,000 respectively.

Worldwide, 1 in 100 adults in the 15-49 age group were thought to be infected with HIV, and only 1 in 10 infected people were aware of their infection. It was estimated that by the year 2000 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS would have grown to 40 million.

September 2, “The most recent estimate of the number of Americans infected (with HIV), 750,000, is only half the total that government officials used to cite over a decade ago, at a time when experts believed that as many as 1.5 million people carried the virus.” article in the Washington Post.

Based on the Bangui definition the WHO’s cumulative number of reported AIDS cases from 1980 through 1997 for all of Africa is 620,000. For comparison, the cumulative total of AIDS cases in the USA through 1997 is 641,087.

December 7, “French President Jacques Chirac addressed Africa’s top AIDS conference and called on the world’s richest nations to create an AIDS therapy support fund to help Africa. According to Chirac, Africa struggles to care for two-thirds of the world’s persons with AIDS without the benefit of expensive AIDS therapies. Chirac invited other countries, especially European nations, to create a fund that would help increase the number of AIDS studies and experiments. AIDS workers welcomed Chirac’s speech and said they hoped France would promote the idea to the Group of Eight summit of the world’s richest nations.”

At the end of the year, UNAIDS reported that worldwide the HIV epidemic was far worse than had previously been thought. More accurate estimates suggested that 30 million people were infected with HIV. The previous year’s estimate had been 22 million infected people with an estimated 3.2 million cases of new HIV infections.

Follow LASS on Twitter

or subscribe via email
Related articles

The virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV

With the right programs and financing, the UN and its partners have said that, by 2015, virtually no HIV-positive mother will have to pass along HIV to her newborn — an exciting goal that can be achieved in just a few short years.

But Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) can be a confusing process.  PMTCT isn’t exactly an acronym that rolls off your tongue, and the process by which transmission is prevented is a bit complicated, requiring different paths of treatment and follow-up tailored to the mother and child.

Fortunately, UNAIDS have made a great infographic that details the steps required along the way to ensure that a baby can be born HIV-negative. It works a little like a “choose your own adventure” story — except with far more important, real-world consequences. Try following a few different paths through the infographic, keeping an eye out for the percentages built into the circles. The smaller the percentage, the more the baby is likely to be born HIV-free — a happy ending, indeed!

Source: UNAIDS (Outlook 30, 2011 Report).

Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe via email