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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).

White House Marks World AIDS Day

Commemorating World AIDS Day on Wednesday President Barack Obama called for continuing to fight HIV/AIDS domestically and abroad, Agence France-Presse reports (12/1).

Recent Releases In Global Health

Haiti’s Water Needs: Though “cholera epidemics of the 19th century forged the way for the revolution in sanitation and the provision of safe sources of public water, … more than 1 billion people … have little access to safe sources of water,” write the authors of a Lancet Comment that reflects…

AIDS 2010 Media Analysis

Ahead of the final day of the International AIDS Conference-AIDS 2010 on Friday, a New York Times analysis piece reports that growing concerns over funding for HIV/AIDS have dominated the focus of the conference. According to the newspaper, this has affected “organizers’ efforts to get publicity for the Vienna Declaration, which calls for drug users to be spared arrest and offered clean needles, methadone and treatment if they have AIDS.”

AIDS 2010 Studies, Releases: Criminalization, Discrimination Of High-Risk Groups; Test-And-Treat; UNAIDS Launches HIV Prevention Commission

The criminalization of men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people in Asia is holding back efforts to contain HIV/AIDS in the region, according to a report presented Wednesday by the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) and Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health at the International AIDS Conference-AIDS 2010, VOA News reports. The report “linked the criminalization of homosexual behavior to an increase in the infection rate of HIV and AIDS in Asia,” the news service writes (Dewan, 7/21).

Opinions: IDUs And HIV; AIDS 2010; International Violence Against Women Act

Governments Should Examine Drug Policies To Slow HIV Transmission Among IDUs In a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, Evan Wood, associate professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, writes about the Vienna Declaration, a document he helped to draft, that calls for international leaders to revise drug policies to…

IPS Examines Challenges To Slowing Spread Of HIV In Eastern Europe, Central Asia

“Despite pledges from governments across Eastern Europe and Central Asia to fight HIV/AIDS — one of the eight Millennium Development Goals — the region has the world’s fastest-growing HIV epidemic,” Inter Press Service reports in an article examining challenges to stemming the spread of the disease, particularly among injection drug users. “Punitive drug policies, discrimination and problems with access to medicines and important therapy are all driving an epidemic which is unlikely to be contained, world experts say, until governments in countries with the worst problems change key policies and approaches to the disease,” the news service writes. According to experts and activists, a lack of opiate-substitution therapy (OST) and needle-exchange programs, as well as discrimination against and “active persecution” of drug users who try to access therapy programs, contributes to the spread of HIV, IPS notes (Stracansky, 9/3).

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).