There are more than half a million people who inject drugs (PWID) in the South-East Asia Region (SEAR). The majority of countries in the Region have a significant injecting drug use problem and several countries have reported much higher national HIV prevalence rates among PWID—most notably Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and some regions of India.

An assessment of the current situation of HIV and injecting drugs and national responses has been undertaken by the World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia. The countries are Bangladesh, Maldives, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal and India. In SEAR, HIV prevalence among PWID is frequently above 20-25% and has remained consistently high. High-risk behaviour by PWID, such as sharing of contaminated needles and syringes, has become a major determining factor in the course of the HIV epidemic. Using current available data it is hoped the country profiles will contribute towards an improved comprehensive understanding of the issues, be useful for advocacy, and generate further harm-reduction responses in countries under review.