UNODC to discuss drug users and people in prison settings at AIDS 2014 international conference

AIDS 2014Melbourne, 18 July 2014 - People who use drugs and people in prison settings will be on the agenda next week at the 20th International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2014), which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, from 20 to 25 July. The conference's programme includes a series of sessions organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in collaboration with other cosponsors of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and several civil society organisations.

On Monday, 21 July, UNODC will have a full day of events with the presence of its Deputy Executive Director, Aldo Lale-Demoz, who also holds the titles of Director of the Division for Operations and Global Coordinator for HIV/AIDS. Mr. Lale-Demoz will be joined by the Chief of the UNODC HIV/AIDS Section, Dr. Monica Beg, in a session that will address harm reduction among women who inject drugs, organised together with the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD). On this occasion, UNODC will launch a new policy brief, Addressing the specific needs of women who inject drugs, which was developed with the Women and Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN) and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) to guide policy makers and implementers.

Later that day, Mr. Lale-Demoz will present UNODC's strategy for global impact at the symposium "Harm reduction and HIV: joining forces for results", an event of the International AIDS Society (IAS). Finally, on that evening, UNODC will hold a satellite session entitled "Science addressing drugs and HIV: state of the art of harm reduction".  Built on the scientific consultation held at the margin of the 57th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2014, the session will bring together six leading scientists in the field of harm reduction and will showcase the key recommendations emanating from the consultation.  

Continuing on Tuesday, 22 July, UNODC will hold a skills building workshop on assessing the quality of population size estimates of people who inject drugs. Organized in partnership with the World Bank, INPUD and the Population Council, the interactive session will provide tools to help delegates proceed with such assessments.

Halfway through the conference, on Wednesday, 23 July, Dr. Beg will speak at another session, organised by UNODC with the Law Enforcement and HIV Network (LEAHN), entitled "The critical partnership for HIV prevention: building relationships with police to support civil society and HIV programmes". This innovative session will provide lessons learned from the field, but will also serve to launch UNODC's new training guidelines for law enforcement officials on HIV service provision for people who inject drugs.

On Thursday, 24 July, the IAS will hold a symposium addressing HIV in prisons settings, an issue that is often under addressed in national AIDS responses. UNODC's Senior Advisor, Dr. Fabienne Hariga, will speak at the symposium and present UNODC's new publication on HIV prevention among drug users in prisons, a long awaited piece of guidance for implementers.

AIDS 2014 is expected to gather over 12,000 people from nearly 200 countries, including the world's top AIDS researchers, community leaders, people living with HIV, policy-makers and over 800 journalists. Confirmed high-level speakers include the UNAIDS Executive Director, Michel Sidibé, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark, and the founder of the Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States, Bill Clinton. AIDS 2014 is convened by the IAS, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), the International Community of Women with HIV/AIDS (ICW), and UNAIDS, among other partners.

Related information:

AIDS 2014 website

Turning the HIV tide in prisons - factsheet

Turning the HIV tide for people who use drugs - factsheet

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