Building a partnership in HIV prevention among vulnerable groups

 Law enforcement staff and representatives of civil society from several regions of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met during a series of workshops organized by UNODC in Central Asia in October-November 2013.

Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are eight high priority countries for UNODC in the region. There is an opportunity to continue building partnerships between law-enforcement, the health sector and CSOs. More than 80 participants attended the workshops, including representatives from law enforcement agencies, Ministries of Health, specialists working in the penitentiary system and civil society representatives. The aim of these workshops was to sensitize law enforcement officials about harm reduction services in the context of HIV, and how law enforcement practices can influence, positively or negatively, drug users' access to harm reduction services.  There is also a chance to support CSOs to advocate with law enforcement agencies to ensure greater access for people who inject drugs to harm reduction services. Best international, regional and national practices were presented on the issues of police work and the penitentiary system in HIV prevention.

 Participants from the regions of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan learned about the concept of harm reduction, as well as gained skills for preventive work on HIV among vulnerable groups. UNODC is planning to continue its support to law enforcement agencies and CSOs in reaching the global target of reducing new HIV cases and improving access for healthcare and social services for drug dependent people and persons in detention.