Injecting drug use has now been documented in 135 countries, 110 of which also report HIV transmission through contaminated needles, syringes and other injecting equipment. Worldwide 5 to 10 million people inject drugs, and 5 to 10 per cent of all new HIV infections globally result from the use of contaminated injecting equipment by injecting drug users. In the Asia-Pacific, transmission among injecting drug users is the most prevalent method of HIV spread in China, Viet Nam, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Nepal, Kazakhstan and parts of India. HIV has been found among IDUs in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Cambodia, and is suspected of being present in Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and Laos. Application of human rights principles and processes to injecting drug users, at risk of or living with HIV/AIDS, is rare and often problematic in the region. The illegality of injecting drug use in most countries and the characterisation of drug users as “criminal” and “evil” make it difficult for many people to see drug users as worthy of rights of any kind. In particular, authorities in many Asian countries express the view that human rights do not apply to drug users unless or until they quit drug use.
Terms & Tags:
Conference Proceedings, Injecting Drug Users, Asia, Pacific, Human Rights,