Supporting harm reduction in Latin
America and the Caribbean (LAC)
P. Cymerman1, M. Day2, G. Hirnschall3, R. Mazin3
1Intercambios Asociacion Civil, Advocacy, Ciudad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2Caribbean Drug Abuse Research Institute, Castries, Saint Lucia, 3Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), HIV Unit, Washington, United States
Issues: Despite the
concept of harm reduction is known to effectively control HIV transmission among drug
users, few countries in LAC explicitly support it. Multilateral agencies have provided limited and
intermittent support to harm reduction programs in the region. Therefore,
actions for expanding access to risk and harm reduction programs and services
by drug users and their sexual partners need to be undertaken urgently.
Description: In october 2009,
PAHO HIV Unit organized an expert consultation on drug users as a priority
population for HIV prevention and control activities, with the scope of
outlining concrete strategies and approaches to establish, expand, and strengthen
risk and harm reduction programs and services in LAC.
As a result, three main
activities and products were developed in the following months:
and analysis of information on the state of HIV and drug use in LAC including
the identification of gaps in information and responses.
expansion and translation into Spanish of the WHO-UNODC-UNAIDS “Technical guide
for countries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment
and care for injecting drug users” to ensure it serves to guide actions in LAC
situation, including recommendations for non-injecting drug users.
for the mobilization of financial resources with bilateral organizations and
foundations to support the implementation of prevention and harm reduction
activities during 2010-2011 in some LAC countries.
of non-injecting drug use and HIV needs to be addressed in LAC based on a
public health and human rights approach. Joint efforts of governments, NGOs and
donors with PAHO regional leadership can contribute to harm reduction agenda.
process is being conducted with the participation of key regional actors in
order to face the challenges represented by ideological, political, legal, and institutional
factors that may hamper the development and maintenance of harm reduction services.
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