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Kenya To Distribute Free Syringes, Needles To People Who Use Injection Drugs

“The Kenyan government will begin distributing free syringes and needles to more than 50,000 [injection] drug users (IDUs) across the country in the next month,” PlusNews reports, adding, “Policy-makers and experts said the decision was reached following concerns over the spread of HIV and other blood-borne illnesses through injection drug use.” “[Injection] drug use is responsible for close to four percent of national HIV infections and 17 percent of new infections in Coast Province annually, according to government statistics,” according to the news service. “The government aims to distribute some eight million needles and syringes to drug users countrywide once the program is rolled out and will also encourage HIV testing, provide antiretroviral drugs, condoms, and medication for tuberculosis, the most commonly found co-infection with HIV” the news service writes (6/7).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Lancet Study Finds Level Of HIV Services For IDUs ‘Is Poor In Many Countries’ A Lancet study performed a systematic review of HIV prevention and treatment services targeting injecting drug users (IDUs) globally based on the availability of “core interventions for IDUs: needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), opioid substitution therapy (OST) and other drug…

U.N. Official Addresses Increasing Drug Addiction In Developing Countries

The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on Monday warned of an impending “health disaster facing developing countries if wealthy nations fail to control drugs,” the Agence France-Presse reports. During a speech delivered in Vienna, UNODC chief Antonio Maria Costas pointed to “increasing use of heroin in East Africa, cocaine in West Africa, and synthetic drugs in the Middle East and South East Asia as warning signs” of a growing drug problem in impoverished nations (3/8).

Illegal Drug Use May Be Affecting Health, Death Rates Worldwide, Lancet Report Says

“About 200 million people around the world use illegal drugs every year, and that may be taking a toll on health and death rates in various countries, says a report released Thursday in the Lancet,” the Los Angeles Times’ “Booster Shots” blog reports. According to the blog, “[t]he study, part of a series the journal is doing on addiction, offers a plethora of information about [the] use of opioids, amphetamines, cocaine and marijuana worldwide” (Stein, 1/5).

British Columbia’s ‘Treatment-As-Prevention Strategy’ Helping To Reduce HIV/AIDS Cases, Deaths

“New HIV cases and AIDS deaths are both going steadily down in British Columbia, according to data released last week,” the New York Times reports. Julio Montaner, director of the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, said, “We’re particularly pleased to see that our treatment-as-prevention strategy has taken off big-time,” the newspaper notes, adding that the strategy, which aggressively identifies and treats people with HIV, “lowers by 96 percent the chances that they will infect others.” The New York Times writes, “Montaner said he is frustrated that rich countries will not donate enough money to roll out the strategy in poor countries with huge HIV epidemics” (McNeil, 1/2).

Also In Global Health News: HIV Prevention In Iran; Water Pricing; Malaria Control Challenges; Drought In Niger; MBAs

AP Examines Iran’s Efforts To Curb Spread Of HIV/AIDS Among Drug Users The Associated Press reports that health experts participating at this week’s International Harm Reduction Association conference in Liverpool are looking to Iran’s methadone clinics and needle exchange programs as a possible model for other countries looking to stop HIV/AIDS…

U.N. Says Asia Pacific Region Making Strides Against HIV/AIDS, Must Address Social And Legal Barriers To Treatment, Prevention

The U.N. Economic and Social Commission for the Asia Pacific (ESCAP) on Monday in Bangkok “opened a three-day meeting lauding impressive gains in recent years in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” but the body cautioned “there are still legal and social barriers that significantly set back eradication efforts,” VOA News reports. U.N. ESCAP Executive Secretary Noeleen Heyzer “note[d] the gains are uneven and there are still gaps in the goal of universal access to HIV treatment,” the news service writes.

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