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Conference Highlights

HIV & Drug Policy Pre-Conference

Globally, one in ten new HIV infections is attributable to unsafe injection of illicit drugs. Therefore, The HIV & Drug Policy Pre-Conference will focus on three interconnected themes:

  • advances in policing practice and legal reforms that increase access to HIV care and treatment for addiction for people who use drugs;
  • innovations in integrated healthcare services;
  • the challenges of bringing interventions to scale.
Harm Reduction & Drug Policy Roadmap

Your guide to all of the harm reduction and drug policy sessions at AIDS 2012! Download the Harm Reduction & Drug Policy Delegate Guide!

Sessions and Presentations
If you’ve registered for the conference, you don’t want to miss the following sessions:

Drug Policy vs. HIV: Mutually Exclusive? On Monday, July 23 from 7:00-8:30 in Session Room 8

Effective public health work is often hampered by the punitive approach to drug use leaving drug users exposed to the risks of acquiring HIV, Viral Hepatitis, overdosing or experiencing untreated drug problems. Untreated tension exists between law enforcement, policing, drug control and on the other hand human rights, dignity and healthcare. Moving beyond a limited criminal justice response to drug use is essential if we are to eliminate bloodborne HIV and provide for healthier communities.

  • The Impact of Drug Policy on HIV Prevention on Drug Users of Color in US. Speaker: Bobby Tolbert, VOCAL, New York, USA
  • Barriers to Methadone in Afghanistan. Speaker: Olivier Maguet, Medecins du Monde, Afghanistan
  • Employment Discrimination against IDU & PLWHA in China. Speaker: Tingting Shen, Korekata AIDS Law Center & Consultant for Asia Catalyst, Beijing, China
  • Drug use and expanding harm reduction in Kenya . Speaker:Tinga Kalafa, Kenya Network for IDUs Trust

Drug User Owned and Operated on Tuesday, July 24 from 11:00- 12:30 in Global Village Session Room 1

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: Louis Jones , United States
  • Shaping harm reduction in east Africa Speaker: Taib Abdulrahman Basheeib, Kenya
  • HCV: whose virus is it anyway? Speaker: Loon Gangte, India
  • ARVs: people who use drugs as peer support givers Speaker: Erin O’Mara , United Kingdom

Working with Active Drug Users: The Basics for Community Providers on Tuesday, July 24 from 14:30 to 18:00 in Mini Room 3

People who use drugs comprise a large proportion of people at risk of HIV and in need of HIV care. Drug users face many challenges in obtaining medical care, including the demands of addiction and the stigma surrounding drug use. Health care professionals often have little experience with this population and share the same stigmatizing beliefs about drug users as the general public. When total abstinence is not achieved, medical providers may feel helpless and unable to provide meaningful services. This workshop will offer an overview of the issues facing drug users. Adherence to medications among drug users will be examined. HIV medication interaction with commonly used drugs will be addressed. Interventions for non-abstinent drug users will be discussed, including syringe access, overdose prevention and opioid maintenance treatment. Participants will address the problem of stigma and learn how to adapt the workshop’s content to their settings.

Facilitator: Sharon Stancliff, United States

Plenary Session Dynamics of the Epidemic in Context” on Thursday, July 27 from 8:40-10:30 in Session Room 1

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.

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