The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a series of Evidence for Action technical papers and policy briefs on HIV/AIDS and injecting drug users.

This paper, entitled 'Interventions to address HIV in prisons - HIV care, treatment and support', was produced by the WHO in collaboration with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, in consultation with a group of technical experts.

The authors of the paper recognise that, since the early 1990s, various countries have introduced HIV programmes in prisons. However, many of them are small in scale, restricted to a few prisons, or exclude necessary interventions for which evidence of effectiveness exists.

The paper calls for the development of comprehensive programmes (including information and education, particularly through peers; needle and syringe programmes; drug dependence treatment, in particular opioid substitution therapy, provision of condoms, voluntary HIV testing and counselling, and diagnosis and treatment of STIs) and for the rapid scaling up of these services. As part of these programmes, prison systems should provide HIV care equivalent to that available in the community, including antiretroviral treatment.