Today, on World AIDS Day, you will repeatedly hear the mantra “leave no one behind,” referring to the concerted effort to end AIDS by 2030 pledged in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. But evidence shows that people who use drugs, a population at particular risk of HIV transmission, are in fact being left further and further behind.
The best way to limit the transmission of HIV—along with hepatitis C—among this population is through harm reduction. This refers to specific health interventions, such as drug consumption rooms, needle and syringe programs, opioid substitution therapy, and overdose reversal treatment.
But it also refers to the wider pragmatic, evidence-based approach to drugs on which these interventions are founded. This philosophy accepts that drugs, licit or illicit, have been and will always be used, while recognizing the specific risks and harms related to drug use in different contexts, which can and should be minimized.
For the last 10 years, Harm Reduction International has monitored global levels of harm reduction provision for our biennial Global State of Harm Reduction report. In this time, we’ve seen a slow but steady increase in the number of countries providing harm reduction.
Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.