By Stephen Leahy
LIVERPOOL, Apr 29, 2010 (IPS)
Poor intervention in Injecting drug use (IDU) is driving the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Eastern Europe and is also largely responsible for the tuberculosis epidemic in parts of Russia, says a new study.
Shockingly, a mere three US cents a day per injecting drug user are being invested to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB, according to the study released at the opening of the Harm Reduction 2010 conference this week in this English port city.
“Our report shows that just 160 million US dollars a year are being used in total for all the harm reduction programmes to prevent the spread of HIV around the world,” says Gerry Stimson, executive director of the International Harm Reduction Association.
Harm reduction involves providing access to the drug methadone, needle exchange services, and counselling. “Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration cost at least that much,” Stimson, emeritus professor at the Imperial College, London, told IPS in an interview.
In Russia there are an estimated 1.6 million IDUs of which 60 to 70 percent have HIV-related illnesses. In the past decade the number of HIV-infected people increased tenfold from an estimated 100,000 to one million, he said.
“Three cents a day is a terrifying figure and equally terrifying are the HIV infection rates amongst IDUs in parts of Eastern Europe and Asia.”
See rest of story here: HEALTH: Injecting Drug Use Spreads HIV in Eastern Europe