HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care
Networking for Prevention
Since 2002, UNODC has been the conveyor of the Regional Working Group on Drug Use and HIV, in Partnership with UNAIDS and WHO. This Regional Working Group has become the primary platform for introducing major policy and programmatic responses in the region tackling HIV with regards to drug use and prison settings. UNODC continues to make use of this group, as well as other multi-sectoral and multilateral vehicles, to mobilize political commitment and efforts in prioritizing HIV prevention and care at national and regional levels.
At the regional level, the Regional Office (ROMENA) continues to assist in capacity building of governments and civil society organizations through a programmatic approach. It also aims at strengthening the positive legal environment with the development of policies and national action plans that mainstream the prevention of HIV and the negative effects of drug use.
ROMENA also ensures that national strategies work in concert together towards a consistent regional approach, thereby tackling the many challenges of HIV and drug use.
Prevention among Injecting Drug Users
Around 10 % of new infections worldwide are by means of unsafe injecting. Although the main mode of transmission in the MENA region is sexual, in some countries injecting drug use is driving the spread of HIV with signs of concentrated HIV epidemics across the region.
UNODC mandate includes the provision of technical support to governmental and non-governmental organizations to conduct community outreach towards problematic drug users. This has been undertaken through advocacy efforts targeting senior management, capacity building, and networking with good practice centres, as well as exchanging experiences with similar initiatives in the region.
UNODC supports the initiation of comprehensive approaches for HIV prevention among IDUs in the region. Two countries have already developed national guidelines for a comprehensive package of HIV prevention, including opiate substitution therapy, with the support of ROMENA, and a third country is underway.
Prevention and Care in Prison Settings
UNODC's work in initiating HIV prevention and care in prison settings is considered a breakthrough for the region. For the first time, prison inmates can benefit from VCT services equivalent to those outside and access to prevention information through HIV awareness sessions and tailored IEC materials.
Comprehensive HIV prevention in prison settings aims to:
- Increase the knowledge of inmates and prison personnel with regards to drug use, HIV and other blood-borne diseases, including ways to reduce potential risks
- Build the capacity of medical and social service providers with regards to the risks and vulnerability associated with drug use and HIV in closed settings
- Strengthen and scale-up the social, psychological and health facilities available through prisons for the prevention of HIV and care of drug users and people living with HIV.
- Improve general prison conditions and reduce overcrowding
In 2008, ROMENA developed a Protocol on Assessing Drug Use and HIV in Prison Settings with the intent of providing guidelines for carrying out assessments in prisons and harmonizing the collection of data. The protocol is adapted to the region, available in English and Arabic, as well as Spanish, and soon in Vietnamese.
Campaigns and Initiatives
Think AIDS is a campaign that raises awareness of the risks of HIV/AIDS that accompany drug use. The campaign targets youth as they are particularly vulnerable to drug abuse. On World AIDS Day, UNODC launched the website for its campaign, which provides information for youth and raises awareness. The website provides factsheets, posters, radio and TV spots, speeches and videos.
Take a look at the latest factsheet!
Download our poster!
Visit the website here!
Ministries of Interior, Health and Social Solidarity, Egypt
Ministries of Interior, Health, Education and Social Affairs across the MENA region
Ministries of Interior and Health, Occupied Palestinian Territory