Illegal Drug Trade, Focus on Enforcement Promotes Spread of HIV Worldwide, Expert Says
August 17, 2006
The illegal drug trade has promoted the spread of HIV in many parts of the world, and "excessive reliance on drug enforcement" has reduced the effectiveness of efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, Alex Wodak, an Australian physician, said Tuesday at the XVI International AIDS Conference in Toronto, CP/CBC News reports. According to Wodak -- who directs the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, Australia -- 10% of new HIV cases worldwide occur among injection drug users, and about 30% of new HIV cases outside of Africa occur among IDUs. He added that the "proportion of global HIV infections attributable to injection drug use are growing." Experts for the past 15 years have known that education of IDUs, provision of clean needles, removal of "dirty equipment" from circulation and provision of methadone for heroin addicts can help prevent the spread of HIV, Wodak said. However, he said that a focus on drug enforcement and opposition to some harm reduction programs from the U.S. "prevents these pragmatic approaches being spread throughout the world." Wodak added that the rate of new HIV cases among IDUs has reached "alarming proportions" in areas such as central and eastern Europe and central Asia (Ubelacker, CP/CBC News, 8/15).
IDUs' Access to Treatment
Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2006 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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