Las leyes, políticas y prácticas severas que castigan a las personas que usan drogas solo perpetúan los daños del consumo, y cada vez existen más pruebas de que las leyes de drogas de la India socavan la respuesta al VIH del país.

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A national consultation was held in New Delhi today to discuss the emerging challenges faced by India’s drug-using communities. Harsh laws, policies and practices that punish drug users only perpetuate the harms of drug use, and there is increasing evidence that India’s drug laws stifle the country's HIV response.

Organised by India HIV/AIDS Alliance (Alliance India) in collaboration with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the consultation saw more than 100 stakeholders from government, affected drug-using communities, media, international agencies, and civil society come together to discuss the emerging challenges faced by India’s drug-using communities and synergies to address this crisis of health and rights.

Worldwide 16 million people are estimated to inject drugs, and three million of them are living with HIV. In India, HIV prevalence in this group is 24-times that of the general population. Though progress has been made, the HIV epidemic continues to be fueled by the stigma and discrimination often experienced by drug users. In India, the lack of access to services can effectively be a death sentence for people who inject drugs. While some parts of the country, especially the Northeast, have developed a range of services for this vulnerable population, most other states have few if any such services. Even in places where basic services exist, it remains difficult for beneficiaries to access them.

The simple reality is that drug users are dying due to lack of attention to a variety of their health problems, including Hepatitis C, HIV, overdose, and detoxification. Some of these services remain controversial and currently not part of India’s basic harm reduction service package, while others are often not available where needed.

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