UNAIDS, UNODC, Fiocruz and PBPD bring together Latin American leaders to discuss care policies for HIV and women who use drugs

Rio de Janeiro, 27 September 2022 - On 26 and 27 September, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), supported by the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) and the Brazilian Platform on Drug Policy (PBPD) brought together Latin American women leaders in Rio de Janeiro (RJ) to discuss and create a series of recommendations for countries to include the needs of women who use drugs in national public policies.

"Women account for an estimated 20% of people who use drugs worldwide. They are more vulnerable to acquiring HIV and other viral infections due to gender-based violence, stigma and discrimination. The prevalence of gender-based violence in women who use drugs is two to five times higher than the prevalence among women who do not use drugs", says Elena Abbati, UNODC representative in Brazil.  

The meeting is an expansion of the National Meeting on Combined HIV Prevention and lines of care for women who use drugs, which took place in Santos (SP), in July 2022, and brought together representatives of public management, academia and civil society, as well as international organisations and the general community.

"If we discuss harm reduction, autonomy and quality of life in a sense of citizenship, this puts us in a more powerful way to work in the territories and in social movements," says Adriana Castro, Health Promotion Coordinator of the Vice-presidency of Environment, Care, and Health Promotion at Fiocruz. 

In Brazil, according to data from the 2021 Epidemiological Bulletin for HIV/AIDS, AIDS cases are prevalent in black women, as are AIDS-related deaths. In 2010, 45.4% of women who died from AIDS-related diseases were white, a number that was reduced to 36.4% in 2020. Among black women, the reality is not the same. In 2010, 54.1% of AIDS-related deaths of women were among black women. In 2020, this number increased to almost 63%.


"This increase is a sign that, despite many achievements related to the prevention of new cases and reduction of mortality related to AIDS in general, there is still a group of women who urgently need policies to keep them alive", concludes Claudia Velasquez, director and representative of UNAIDS in Brazil.

The National Meeting on Combined Prevention of HIV and care lines for women who use drugs brought together representatives from Brazil (É de Lei Coexistence Centre, Escola Livre de Redução de Danos, Rede Nacional de Feministas Antiproibicionistas), Uruguay (Coletivo Mizangas), Colombia (Corporación Viviendo), Argentina (Intercambios) and representatives from Honduras, Guatamela, Costa Rica and Argentina of the Latin American Network of People who Use Drugs.

 Read UNODC Brazil organizes meeting on HIV prevention and care for woman who use drugs  



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