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In Hong Kong, the number of HIV cases transmitted through injecting drug use (IDU) has remained low up till now and contributed to less than 5% of all reported cases cumulatively. However, the potential risk of cluster outbreak and rapid upsurge of infection among the IDU population is always a concern. To monitor HIV-related risk behaviours and access to HIV testing services among IDU, this population has been included as one of the four at-risk populations in the HIV/AIDS Response Indicator Survey (HARiS) implemented since 2013. The sixth round of survey was conducted in 2018 via commissioning to the Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease, School of Public Health and Primary Care of the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Keywords: HIV, IDU, drug, testing, condom use, needle
WHO estimates that 71 million people worldwide were chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) in 2017. Globally, 23% of new HCV infections and one in three HCV deaths are attributable to injecting drug use (PWID). HCV is also a major concern for people detained in prisons and other closed settings – available data demonstrate that one in four detainees are HCV positive.
This policy brief highlights the current landscape of country hepatitis policies for harm reduction and HCV testing and treatment in PWID and people in prisons. It aims to capture how governments are translating the WHO Global health sector strategy on viral hepatitis, 2016-2021 into national plans, and provides a summary of the enablers and barriers to HCV testing and treatment in these populations.
Countries in Asia have typically addressed illicit drug supply and use with harsh punishments, including compulsory treatment and the death penalty. The region has long espoused the goal of creating a drug-free society, a goal that has been abandoned in other parts of the globe for being infeasible.
Like many other places in the world, there are emerging discussions in Asia about policies to reduce drug use and trafficking. This report aims to help inform policymakers and the public by describing the illicit drug situation for selected Association of Southeast Asian Nations + 3 countries (China, Japan, and South Korea).
Keywords: HIV, PWID, harm reduction, criminal justice, human rights, drug law
This report is based on a desk review of United Nations and open-source material on the death penalty, including OHCHR studies and United Nations resolutions and human rights mechanisms. It builds on material from the 2018 Bangkok seminar. This report also presents recent global trends in death penalty and drug-control matters, a summary of the applicable international human rights norms and standards, and recent developments in legislation and criminal justice responses related to the death penalty and drug control in South-East Asia.
The first case of HIV infection in Hong Kong was reported in 1984. As of 2018, the Department of Health has received a cumulative total of 9,715 reports of HIV infection and 1,996 AIDS cases under the voluntary and anonymous HIV/AIDS reporting system. The number of HIV reports in 2018 was 624, 8% decrease compared to the 681 cases in 2017. People infected with HIV progress to AIDS when they suffer from clinical complications of severe immunodeficiency due to HIV. In 2018, 139 AIDS reports were received. The most common illnesses presenting at AIDS were Pneumocystis pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Keywords: HIV, AIDS, IDU, drug, testing, condom use, needle
In 2017, key populations (KP) and their sexual partners accounted for approximately 40% of new HIV infections globally (UNAIDS, 2018). A range of policy and legal barriers and harmful social dynamics increase the HIV vulnerability of KP and undermine their access to HIV and other services. The criminalization of sex between men, sex work, drug use and HIV transmission, as well as high rates of incarceration, homophobia, trans phobia, violence and social marginalization, all serve to influence risk practices and undermine access to services. People from key populations often migrate to cities in search of safer and more secure communities (UNAIDS, UN Habitat 2015). Women in key populations face specific challenges and barriers, including gender-based violence (GBV) and poorly tailored services. These factors further intensify their vulnerability to HIV.
The new UNAIDS report, Health, rights and drugs: harm reduction, decriminalization and zero discrimination for people who use drugs, shows that of the 10.6 million people who inject drugs in 2016, more than half were living with hepatitis C and one in eight were living with HIV. It outlines that ensuring that comprehensive harm reduction services are available—including needle–syringe programmes, drug dependence treatment and HIV testing and treatment—will kick-start progress on stopping new HIV infections among people who use drugs.
The guide is intended for use by policymakers, programme managers and service providers, including community-based organizations, at the national, regional or local levels, who undertake to address HIV prevention, treatment and care. It also provides useful information for development and funding agencies and for academia.
Almost a decade ago, the international community agreed upon a Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. The Declaration included the decision to establish 2019 as the target date for the goals set within it, specifically for states to ‘eliminate or reduce significantly and measurably’ the illicit cultivation, production, trafficking and use of internationally controlled substances, the diversion of precursors and money laundering.
The drug policy reform movement continues to strengthen and diversify with many new players joining the calls for a serious re-think of repression and punishment as instruments of drug control. Repressive drug control measures are increasingly being understood as a form of state violence that serves to deepen and entrench structural inequalities which has garnered stronger interest in challenging current drug policies from other social movements such as those working on racial inequality, women’s rights, indigenous rights, LGTIQ+ rights to prison abolition and beyond. Building cross-movement solidarity on key human rights and social justice issues is more important than ever in the current troubling geo-political context and will be a core focus of the IDPC Secretariat in the coming years.