UN / AIDS REPORT

13-Mar-2019 00:00:55
A new UNAIDS report said that promises to improve health outcomes for people who inject drugs remain unfulfilled as 99 per cent do not have adequate access to HIV and harm reduction services. UNIFEED
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STORY: UN / AIDS REPORT
TRT: 00:55
SOURCE: UNIFEED
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 13 MARCH 2019, NEW YORK CITY
SHOTLIST
RECENT – NEW YORK CITY

1.Exterior, United Nations Headquarters

13 MARCH 2019, NEW YORK CITY

2.Various shots, press briefing room
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, United Nations:
“And our colleagues at UNAIDS are expressing concerns that the new HIV infections are not declining among people who inject drugs despite declining in new infections globally. A new UNAIDs report also shows that 99 per cent of people who inject drugs living countries do not provide adequate harm reduction services which include needle and syringes programmes, drug dependence treatment and HIV treatment.”
4.Wide shot, press briefing room
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, United Nations:
“In a press release today, Michel Sidibé, the UNAIDS Executive Director said ensuring access to health and social services with dignity and without discrimination or criminalization, can drastically reduce new HIV infections.”
6. Wide shot, press briefing room
STORYLINE
A new UNAIDS report shows that despite a decline in new HIV infections globally, HIV incidence is not declining among people who inject drugs.

Speaking to reporters in New York today (13 Mar), UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said UNAIDS are “expressing concerns that the new HIV infections are not declining among people who inject drugs despite declining in new infections globally.”

The report shows that 99 per cent of people who inject drugs living countries do not provide adequate harm reduction services which include needle and syringes programmes, drug dependence treatment and HIV treatment.

In a press release, Michel Sidibé, the UNAIDS Executive Director said “ensuring access to health and social services with dignity and without discrimination or criminalization, can drastically reduce new HIV infections.”

The new UNAIDS report called “Health, rights and drugs: harm reduction, decriminalization and zero discrimination for people who use drugs”, shows that of the 10.4 million people who inject drugs in 2016, more than half were living with hepatitis C and one in eight were living with HIV. It outlines that ensuring that comprehensive harm reduction services are available—including needle–syringe programmes, drug dependence treatment and HIV testing and treatment—will kick-start progress on stopping new HIV infections among people who use drugs.

However, few United Nations Member States have lived up to the 2016 agreement outlined in the outcome document of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem to establish effective public health measures to improve health outcomes for people who use drugs.

The report outlines that although decriminalization of drug use and possession for personal use increases the provision, access and uptake of health and harm reduction services, criminalization and severe punishments remain commonplace. An estimated one in five people in prison globally are incarcerated for drug-related offences, around 80% of whom are in prison for possession for personal use alone. In addition, the report lists 35 countries that retain the death penalty for drug-related offences.

UNAIDS is also advocating for the full engagement of civil society as an essential source of information and to provide mobilization, advocacy and community-led services, especially in places where repressive policies and practices are the norm. In addition, UNAIDS is calling for sufficient funding for human rights programmes and health services that include harm reduction and HIV services, community-led responses and social enablers and the removal of drug- related and HIV-related stigma and discrimination.

Health, rights and drugs highlights that despite the effectiveness of harm reduction, investments in harm reduction measures are falling far short of what is needed for an effective HIV response. In 31 low- and middle-income countries that reported data to UNAIDS, 71% of spending on HIV services for people who use drugs was financed by external donors.

While some countries have made progress by implementing evidence-informed approaches that are grounded in human rights, most are still lagging far behind. Ahead of the ministerial segment of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, which starts on 14 March 2019 in Vienna, Austria, UNAIDS is urging governments to revisit and refocus their approaches to drug policy by putting people at the centre and linking human rights to public health.
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