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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.
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.
Drug control intersects with much of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the UN Member State pledge to leave no one behind. In line with the 2030 Agenda, the UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and the HIV, Health and Development Strategy 2016-2021: Connecting the Dots, the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy provide a comprehensive set of international legal standards for placing human dignity and sustainable development at the centre of Member State responses to illicit drug economies. The guidelines cover a diverse set of substantive issues ranging from development to criminal justice to public health.
This report presents the results of the 2017-18 Integrated Biological and Behavioural Survey (IBBS), among people who inject drugs (PWID) in selected sites in Myanmar, including a formative assessment and population size estimations. A formative assessment was conducted in September 2017 in each site to inform the implementation of the IBBS. The assessment was conducted to assess the particulars of PWID populations in each setting, to provide information to tailor RDS and PSE methods and logistic approaches to the different PWID population and epidemic context.
The 2018 Global Overview outlines key trends across the at least 35 countries that retain the death penalty for drug offences in law, and analyses data on death sentences and executions from the last decade. Extensive examination is provided on the divergent trends witnessed in 2018 of falling execution numbers globally, and rising appeal for reimplementation of the death penalty in some countries, while considering the role public opinion plays in all of this.
Drug markets are evolving at unprecedented speed. The range of substances and combinations available to users has never been wider, and the amounts produced have never been greater. Cultivation and manufacturing of heroin and cocaine have reached record highs, synthetic drugs continue to expand, and the market for new psychoactive substances (NPS) remains widely diversified with a growing interplay with traditional drug markets. The non-medical use of regulated prescription drugs (either diverted from licit channels or illicitly manufactured) is becoming a major threat: in addition to the ongoing opioid epidemic in North America, there are signs of an opioid epidemic due to the non-medical use of tramadol in North and sub Saharan Africa, as well as in the Middle East. Drug-related deaths are on the rise. At the same time, access to controlled drugs for medical purposes remains a dramatic problem in most low and middle-income countries.
Find HIV data on HIV epidemic update, epidemic update, HIV testing and counseling, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT), HIV Care and Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Services and key populations.
Between 2010 and 2016, Asia and the Pacific registered one of the steepest declines in HIV infecti ons globally, with prevalence rates dropping by approximately 13%. Despite this overall reduction, HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs in Southeast Asia remains among the world’s highest. Regionally, seven of the ten countries with the highest rates of HIV among people who inject drugs are member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
This paper offers a brief analysis of these two challenges in light of current policies and practices, along with recommendati ons for overcoming them to ensure the implementati on of a drug treatment system that can result in improved health and human rights outcomes for people who use drugs and people dependant on drugs.