Improving Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Care, and HIV Prevention, Treatment and Care for People Who Use Drugs, including Injecting Drug Users and in Prison Settings.

The Challenge

Few regional countries have specialised facilities offering evidence-informed and human rights-based treatment for drug dependence. Treatment is largely offered in state-run mental health hospitals and/or psychiatric institutions. There is a lack of adequate legislation, policy and programmes on drug use and HIV prevention, treatment and care, and limited numbers of skilled professionals to administer treatments. Inpatient detoxification programmes are often not followed by proper outpatient treatment or relapse prevention and rehabilitation programmes.

Southern Africa is the region most affected by HIV, harbouring over one third (34%) of all people living with HIV globally in 2009. Though the exact rate of HIV and AIDS among people who use drugs and those in prison settings is unknown, available indicators suggest that HIV prevalence is significantly higher than the general population. Available data also indicates that Injecting Drug Use (IDU) is increasing, with at least eight regional countries reporting cases. IDU poses a significant risk of infection from HIV and other blood-borne pathogens, and HIV epidemics can develop very rapidly among IDU.

Our Work

UNODC is assisting SADC Member State countries to reduce the demand for drugs, prevent drug-related HIV infections, as well as HIV/AIDS in prison settings.  It is also supporting the promotion of treatment to reduce health-related and social consequences through the provision of evidence-based services.

The following table highlights specific outcomes under this Pillar:

  •     Evidence-based services in prevention and treatment of drug abuse;
  •     HIV and AIDS in prison settings
  •     HIV and AIDS among people who use drugs