Public health and social justice: the time to stop criminalising Thai injecting drug users is now

Jittima Jantanamalaka - CNS
Thailand has been a leader in HIV prevention and treatment for 20 years. Success has come to Thailand in many HIV contexts, but not for HIV transmission driven by injecting drug use. The combination of the criminalisation of injection drug use and a lack of a coherent legal and policy framework on drugs, means that not only injecting drug users (IDUs) are at risk when they access services, but service providers are also at risk of being penalised for offering them. In Thailand, service providers have been arrested, jailed or blacklisted – confirming the gravity of the situation.Criminalisation of drugs can increase HIV infection rates, particularly among IDUs. The number of new hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections has also escalated since the 'war on drugs' was launched. On one hand, when in some countries rates of heterosexually transmitted HIV infections are falling, HIV transmission through the injecting drug route continues to rise. While harm reduction approaches have proven effective at reducing the spread and impact of the epidemic among IDUs, progress in addressing IDU's needs and priorities moves at a snail's pace. Read more

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Citizen News Service(CNS), India/Thailand
Wikio News, Africa
Elites TV News, California, USA
Health, Thailand