The published work on HIV in people who use drugs shows that the global burden of HIV infection in this group can be reduced. Concerted action by governments, multilateral organizations, health systems, and individuals could lead to enormous benefits for families, communities, and societies.
The authors of this paper review the evidence and identify synergies between biomedical science, public health, and human rights. Cost-effective interventions, including needle and syringe exchange programs, opioid substitution therapy, and expanded access to HIV treatment and care are supported on public health and human rights grounds; however, only around 10 percent of people who use drugs worldwide are being reached, and far too many are imprisoned for minor off ences or detained without trial.
To change this situation will take commitment, advocacy, and political courage to advance the action agenda. Failure to do so will exacerbate the spread of HIV infection, undermine treatment programs, and continue to expand prison populations with patients in need of care.
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