Heroin use12 April 2009 - The Afghan Minister of Public Health H.E. Mohammad Amin Fatehmi and the UNODC ‎Representative Jean-Luc Lemahieu launched the sub-regional project for the provision of ‎comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention and care services to Afghan refugee drug users in Iran and ‎Pakistan and returnees in Afghanistan. ‎

The increased availability of heroin has changed drug use patterns in Afghanistan and ‎neighboring countries from traditional opium smoking and oral consumption to drug injection. ‎This creates greater potential for HIV transmission through the sharing of injecting equipment. ‎The high risk of an HIV outbreak among drug users in Afghanistan has been indicated recently at ‎the former Russian Culture Center in Kabul, which has become the biggest provisional drug ‎treatment facility in the country and is mainly inhabited by returnees from Pakistan and Iran. ‎

The sub-regional initiative will establish a collaborative mechanism among the governments of ‎the three countries and will involve close cooperation with the Ministries of Counter Narcotics and ‎Refugees and Repatriation as well as UNHCR, IOM and UNAIDS. It will enable the provision of ‎comprehensive HIV services for Afghan refugees, helping to reduce the individual and social ‎harm of drug use from compounding the trials of migration.‎