Responding to the specific needs of women who inject drugs

Women represent a growing share of all people who inject drugs in many countries; however, HIV and injecting drug use are an often-ignored combination among women.

Women who inject drugs face a range of gender specific barriers to accessing HIV services including stigma, discrimination, gender-based violence and lack of gender-responsive services; quite often, they have less access than men to HIV services, even where they are in place, and are more likely than their male counterparts to acquire HIV.

What we do:

Supporting the revision, adaptation, development and implementation of effective legislation, policies and strategies

UNODC works to advance national dialogues and advocacy for gender-responsive HIV programmes and ensure equitable access to HIV prevention, treatment and care services for women who use drugs.

Development and dissemination of normative guidance on HIV

UNODC in consultation with WHO, UNAIDS Secretariat, UNFPA, International Network of Women Who Use Drugs (INWUD), Women Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN) and The Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), developed a practical guide on interventions addressing the needs of women who inject drugs.

Capacity building

Based on the technical guide, UNODC developed a training package to be used and adapted at country level, designed for training community-based organizations, governmental and non-governmental managers or implementers of harm reduction programmes.

UNODC is conducting country-level trainings to increase capacity of service providers – including governmental, non-governmental and community based organizations – to implement HIV prevention, treatment and care programmes for and with women who inject drugs and to sensitize decision-makers, and national authorities on the importance of and on engaging and supporting community-based organizations in the HIV response.

Technical assistance

UNODC supports the development and implementation of comprehensive evidence-based interventions for HIV prevention, treatment and care.


UNODC promotes human rights-based, gender responsive, public health-centered and evidence-based approaches, elimination of stigma, discrimination and violence.