Comprehensive HIV Prevention Program for People Who Use Drugs
HIV Risk among People who Use Drugs
Drug users are at increased risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV due to drug- and sex-related HIV risk behaviors.
Drug-Related HIV Risk. HIV epidemics spread rapidly among drug users because of the increased exposure to the virus through the sharing of contaminated drug-injection equipment (e.g., needles, syringes, and cookers). Several reasons exist for the sharing of equipment such as:
- Group Injecting norms
- Difficulty in obtaining clean equipment (i.e., cost and availability), and
- Inability to keep and maintain one’s own injection equipment due to household, social, or legal environments.
Needles are more efficient in transmitting HIV because they provide a direct route from an infected person’s blood to a non-infected recipient’s blood. Also people who inject drugs tend to inject frequently (multiple times daily), which increases their risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne pathogens
Sex-Related HIV Risk. PWUD and PWID also transmit and acquire HIV through high-risk sex behaviors. People who use and/or inject drugs may be sexually active with male and/or female sex partners. Since drugs can impair judgment, drug use has been associated with increases in high-risk sexual behaviors, including engaging in unprotected sex, having multiple and often high-risk sex partners, and exchanging sex for money or drugs
Mother-to-Child Transmission. When a HIV positive female drug user becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child, it is possible that HIV can be transmitted from the mother to the child. This type of risk is lessened if the HIV positive female drug user knows her status, receives anti-natal care, and prevention of mother-to child transmission services. To effectively limit the acquisition and transmission of HIV among PWUD and PWID in Uganda, Uganda Harm Reduction Network-UHRN came up with the program below:
Comprehensive HIV Prevention Program For People Who Use Drugs
This Program aims at reducing or eliminating drug-related risk behaviors that contribute to HIV transmission and acquisition, including unsafe drug preparation and injection practices and reducing or eliminating sex-related risk behaviors contributing to HIV transmission and acquisition, including unprotected anal, vaginal, and oral sex with multiple partners among People Who Use Drugs.
Our comprehensive HIV prevention program for people who use drugs includes the following:
- Drug User led Community-based outreach
- Risk reduction counseling and behavior change interventions
- Mobilization of drug users for HIV testing and counseling Outreaches
- Condom use education, distribution and promotion
- Advocating for access to, and safe disposal of, injection equipments
- Referrals for STI screening and treatment
- Referral for HIV care and treatment
- Advocating for the Treatment for drug use and dependence
- Referral for Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Tuberculosis (TB)
- Referral for diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C
The Effects of HIV on the Body
Once the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enters your body, it launches a direct attack on your immune system. It gradually weakens your natural defenses against disease and infection and can affect every part of your body. Find out how.