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Harm Reduction & Drug Policy Networking Zone

The Harm Reduction & Drug Policy Networking Zone: Taking Drug Users Seriously is rooted in the belief that the participation of those who use drugs is integral to ending HIV.

All activities in the zone are FREE and open to the public!


Global Village
Hall B
Space 803

Zone Highlights

In partnership with PHS Community Services Society from Vancouver, BC there will be a spectacular replica of a working Safe Injection Facility; harm reduction services from Washington, D.C. will be represented by the needle exchange outreach van from Family and Medical Counseling Services. The zone will be rounded out by video presentations from around the world by people who use drugs who are unable to attend this year’s conference due to irrational U.S. drug laws. Special events and entertainment will occur in partnerships with Harm Reduction International, HIPS, International Drug Policy Consortium, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and the International Network of People Who Use Drugs.

Come visit us and get your free T-shirt in area 803 of the Global Village (Hall B).

Detailed Program

(Download the PDF)

Sunday July 22Monday July 23Tuesday July 24Wednesday July 25Thursday July 26

Sunday, July 22

Time: 17:30- 18:30
Grand Opening

Join us for the official opening of the Harm Reduction & Drug Policy Networking Zone at AIDS2012

Monday, July 23

Time: 11:00-12:30
Drug User Owned and Operated
Session Type: Panel Presentation

Drug users have been the driving force behind initiatives that reduce the spread of HIV and HCV. However, while harm reduction and other services for people who use drugs are most successful when they incorporate drug users as leaders, that leadership potential is often underutilized or unrecognized. HIV services for drug users are disproportionately underfunded in the global response to HIV. In a world of troubled economies, building stronger communities and expanding effective HIV prevention, treatment, and care for drug users is the critical and necessary course of action. This requires taking a community strengths-based approach that incorporates the expertise of drug users and recognizes their capacity as human rights advocates and allies.

  • Organizing drug users in communities of color Speaker: L. Jones, Users United, United
  • Shaping harm reduction in East Africa Speaker: T. Abdulrahman Basheeib, Kenya
  • HCV- whose virus is it anyway? Speaker: L. Gangte, India
  • ARVs: people who use drugs as peer support givers Speaker: E. O’Mara, Black Poppy,
    United Kingdom

Time: 13:00 – 14:00
23rd International Harm Reduction Conference Launch

Official launch of the next International Harm Reduction Conference, to be held in Vilnius, Lithuania. This event is organized by Harm Reduction International.

Time: 14:30 – 15:30
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union: Films & Discussion
“Gadejuristen – The Danish Street Lawyers”, “Fixerum -Mobile Injection Room in Copenhagen”

Since 1986, more than 90 Safer Injection Rooms (or drug consumption rooms) have been set up in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Luxembourg, Norway, Canada and Australia. Recently the Danish parliament has voted in favour of legalizing the operation of consumption rooms. In Canada, the Supreme Court decided that it is a constitutional right of drug users to have InSite, the Vancouver consumption room keep running. The two films presented are about the struggle for consumption rooms in Denmark. Discussion participants: Nanna Gotfredsen, Director of Street Lawyers and Donald MacPherson, Director of the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition, Canada.

Time: 16:30 – 18:00
T-shirt Distribution & Placard making

Join us for free t-shirts and banner making for Tuesday’s We Can End AIDS – Human Rights & Harm Reduction March.

Time: 18:15 – 19:30
The Neglected Epidemic: Can We Get to Zero Without Drug Policy Reform? with Stephen Lewis

Harm Reduction Coalition, the International Centre for Science in Drug Policy and International Doctors for Healthy Drug Policies invite you to a special reception with esteemed host Stephen Lewis. Hors d’oeuvres & drinks will be provided. For more information and to RSVP contact rugama@harmreduction.org

Tuesday, July 24

Time: 12:00-15:00
We Can End AIDS – Human Rights & Harm Reduction March

Time: 16:30-18:00
Living Harm Reduction: Lessons Learned from 3 Continents

Harm reduction interventions can be readily adapted to diverse national contexts for an effective
response to HIV epidemics among people who use drugs. The Community Action on Harm
Reduction project draws on experiences and best practice from Western Europe and Ukraine to
support the development of harm reduction initiatives in India, China, Kenya, Indonesia and
Malaysia. This session will give an overview of this unique and ambitious project with presentations
on the baseline research data on drug use patterns and services in the five project countries, the
policy and legislative barriers faced and project challenges and achievements over the first year of
implementation. Organized by the International Drug Policy Consortium and the International
HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine /International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

Wednesday July 25

Time: 11:00-12:00
Why the HIV/AIDS Community Should Support the Decriminalization of Drug Use: Criminalize Hate Not HIV

The criminalization of people who use drugs has been a central pillar of illicit drug control around
the world for decades. This punitive approach has come under increasing scrutiny at local and
international levels as a structural risk factor for HIV transmission, as the threat of criminal
penalties and police harassment drives injecting drug use into unhygienic unsupervised marginal
environments, and as prison populations’ increase. This session will draw on learning from the
Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and on the experiences of both people who use drugs
and law enforcement. It will make the case that the entire HIV/AIDS community should support
people who use drugs and growing calls for decriminalization. Organized by International Network
of People Who Use Drugs, Harm Reduction International and the International Planned
Parenthood Federation.

Time: 13:00-14:00
Harm Reduction Programs in Washington, D.C.

Between 2007 and 2010 Washington DC experienced a 72% decrease in the number of newlydiagnosed
HIV cases attributable to injection drug use. The Department of Health attributes this to
the expansion of syringe exchange within the District. This session highlights the work of the
people who made this happen. Speakers from syringe exchange programs will present on their work and the session will be chaired by Dr. Gregory Pappas, Director, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD
and TB Administration, DC Department of Health.

Time: 14:30 – 15:30
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union: Films & Discussion
“United States of Harm Reduction”, “Voices from the Margin: Drug User Activists in the US”

In November 2011 the HCLU video advocacy team asked many activists, outreach workers and
service providers who attended the 8th National Harm Reduction Conference in Austin, Texas
what harm reduction means to them. The movie was made right after the federal ban on the
funding of needle and syringe programs was lifted – but what is the situation now, after the ban has
been restored? To challenge stigma and discrimination and other harms of the drug war, drug users
all over the world form user groups, they promote harm reduction programs, they fight for better
health and social care, and they negotiate peace with the authorities. Our second film is about them.
Discussion participants: Allan Clear, Director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, USA; Bobby
Tolbert, VOCAL, New York, USA; Louis Jones, Users United, USA; Mark Kinzly Harm
Reduction Coalition, USA.

Time: 16:30-18:30
Global State of Harm Reduction 2012 Launch

Harm Reduction International will launch the 2012 GSHR which includes region-by region updates
of key developments in harm reduction since their last global state report. This event will be
followed by a reception.

Thursday July 26

Time: 08:40-10:30
Making Waves – The changing tide of HIV and drug use

The charismatic and awesome Debbie McMillan of the Transgender Health Empowerment and ex-
HIPS staffer will talk about her lived experience as a Trans woman with a history of sex work and
drug use. The original title of her presentation was “Bad Girls Gone Wild” but the International
AIDS Society rejected that descriptor. We think it suits just fine. Join us at our networking zone
where her plenary presentation will be streamed live!

Time: 14:30 – 15:30
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union: Hungarian Civil Liberties Union: Film & Discussion
“Giving Hope” and “The Disproved Accusations of the Russian Drug Czar”

There is only one NGO in Moscow that provides clean needles and non-judgmental help for young drug users – the Andrey Rylkov Foundation. The Foundation does not get any funding from the government for their HIV prevention; what is more, the authorities banned its website for spreading drug propaganda – that is, initiating discussion on opiate substitution treatment, an evidence-based form of treatment that is supported by all UN agencies. The two films are about the Andrey Rylkov Foundation and their struggle with the authorities. Discussion participants: Anya Sarang, director of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation, Russia.

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