A successful response to HIV and drug use is hindered by restrictive and punitive environments. People who inject drugs account for 30% of HIV infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa, and up to 80% of infections in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, yet criminalisation of people who use drugs continues to fuel the HIV epidemic.
Asia Action is increasing the evidence and building support for harm reduction approaches among key policy makers in six countries - China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.
Yogi is a Peer Educator and inmate at Banceuy Prison, Indonesia. An inmate at the prison, Yogi formed BANODIS (Banceuy No Discrimination) to fight discrimination and to educate the inmates about HIV by doing outreach work in every prison block.
With the help of the Alliance’s partner organisation in Indonesia, Rumah Cemara, the prison in Bandung is advocating for an innovative clean needle programme for prisoners later this year.
Other harm reduction activities under Asia Action include:
- Increasing social and political support for community-based treatment as an alternative to compulsory detox centres in China.
- Working with state officials to develop of guidelines for delivering harm reduction interventions in India, including good practice models of care for female injecting drug users.
- In Cambodia, demonstrating to government the efficacy of harm reduction interventions and the crucial role that drug users can play in delivering effective services.
- Developing good practice procedures for police in their the treatment of people who inject drugs in Malaysia, and working with the government to provide antiretroviral therapy for HIV positive drug users in prisons.
- A media campaign will run in Vietnam, in order to increase public support for community based response to drug problems.
Community alternatives to the war on drugs: Community advocacy for harm reduction or Asia Action (2013-2016) is funded by the European Union. Alliance Linking Organisations in each of the six countries support the project, along with IDPC and Harm Reduction International.