8-9 March 2022 – Virtual – On the occasion of the 65th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UNODC HIV/AIDS Section organized the 2nd pre-CND Consultative Meeting in close cooperation with the International AIDS Society (IAS), the International Network of People who use Drugs (INPUD), WHO and UNAIDS. This virtual pre-CND Consultative Meeting continued a format of dialogue between the academic community and civil society that had been initiated in 2021. Every year the consultation provides a platform for the exchange of information and pooling of knowledge.
Globally, new HIV infections have been reduced by 52% since peaking in 1997. However, despite noteworthy progress, the burden of the HIV epidemic remains high among key populations of sex workers and their clients, gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, people in prisons, and transgender people and their sexual partners. In 2020, key populations accounted for 65% of HIV infections globally. The risk of acquiring HIV is estimated to be 35 times higher among people who inject drugs as compared to the general population.
During two-day event participants discussed the impact of various inequalities on the HIV response among people who use drugs. They identified strategies that should be adopted to link science, policy, and clinical practice and to eliminate stigmatisation and marginalisation of and discrimination against people who use drugs. A wide spectrum of presentations delivered during this virtual pre-CND Consultative Meeting included aspects on the impact of COVID-19 on access to HIV harm reduction services, innovations in HIV harm reduction service delivery in response to COVID-19, global systematic reviews of the epidemiology of injecting drug use and HIV, a mapping of services for women who use drugs, equitable access to HIV and HCV services for people who use drugs, stimulant use and inequalities, and policies and practices to enable access to HIV services among people who use drugs. Participants from Nepal, Ukraine, Egypt, Vietnam, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan showcased for the global audience their country examples that included COVID-19 pandemic and community initiatives, support for key populations in Ukraine, and legal and structural barriers to scaling up access to services for key populations. During the consultation, Dr. Andriy Klepikov, Executive Director of the Alliance for Public Health, Ukraine, also emphasized that the country’s harm reduction and HIV programmes, which are considered among the best internationally, are now exposed to new threats.