The University of Malaya’s Centre of Excellence for Research in AIDS (CERiA), organised the Asian launch of the Lancet Special Series on HIV in People Who Use Drugs on the 10th and 11th December 2010 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

This Lancet Special Series on HIV in People Who Use Drugs had its first launch at the XVIII International AIDS Conference in Vienna, in July 2010. This Series draws attention to the issues around the growing HIV epidemic in people who use drugs, including tackling the myths surrounding HIV and people who use drugs, and subjects as diverse as women and drugs to the effect of amphetamines, alcohol, and human rights on the epidemic. The issues surrounding antiretroviral HIV treatment, opioid substitution therapy, and needle and syringe programmes are covered in depth, as are the social issues around decriminalisation of drug users and reducing intimidation, stigmatisation, and imprisonment of drug users.

The Symposium in Kuala Lumpur featured presentations from many of the authors involved in developing the papers and highlighted key research that will help to inform policy and advocacy efforts to address this critical issue.  There were also a number of panel discussions with local, regional and international experts with topics that ranged from the Prevention and Treatment of HIV in People Who Use Drugs to Structural Risk Environments, Women and Drug Use and Human Rights, Drug Detention Centres in Asia as well Drug Policy Reform.  The situation around harm reduction and laws, policies and practices towards people who use drugs in Malaysia was also discussed in detail throughout the Symposium.  Malaysia is increasingly being held up as an example of good practice in the South East Asian region as the country continues to scale up harm reduction programmes and begins a discussion on reforming drug control policies.  The Lancet Special Series on HIV in People Who Use Drugs can be accessed here.