Home > Policy briefing. Women who inject drugs and HIV: addressing specific needs.

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. [UNODC] (2014) Policy briefing. Women who inject drugs and HIV: addressing specific needs. Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 22 p.

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Throughout the world, people who inject drugs (PWID) are all too familiar with stigmatization, vulnerability, marginalization and high risk for HIV.

The situation is even worse for women who inject drugs (WID), who are often ignored and invisible within the larger drug-using population.

National and international research, services, guidelines, training programmes and surveillance concerning people who inject drugs remain overwhelmingly gender-neutral or male-focused. Partly as a result, limited data exist on the role women play among those who inject drugs, and their specific challenges and needs are rarely recognized or understood.

The health and human rights impacts of such invisibility can be very harmful. Women who inject drugs face a range of gender-specific barriers to accessing HIV-related services, and in many contexts they remain a particularly hard- to-reach population, even where harm reduction programmes are in place. The stigma and discrimination that they experience, which is often heightened by gender-based violence and abuse, increases their risk for contracting HIV and other blood-borne viruses, as well as a wide range of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

This policy brief aims to promote the realization of gender equality and human rights in terms of an effective harm reduction response to HIV for women who inject drugs in community and prison settings. It outlines a framework to achieve that goal which focuses on improving the availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptability of women-oriented harm reduction interventions. Suggested good practice tools and guidance are also provided.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Report
Drug Type:Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type:AOD disorder harm reduction, Crime prevention
Source:UNODC
Date:August 2014
Pages:22 p.
Publisher:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Corporate Creators:United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Place of Publication:Vienna
EndNote:View
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:G Health and disease > Pathologic process > Inflammation or infection
G Health and disease > Disorder by cause > Communicable disease > HIV
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Substance use prevention > Substance use harm reduction
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health related prevention > Health information and education > Communicable disease control > HIV prevention
MA-ML Social science, culture and community > Sociocultural discrimination concepts > Prejudice (stigma / discrimination)
T Demographic characteristics > Woman (women / female)
T Demographic characteristics > Gender differences
T Demographic characteristics > Intravenous / injecting drug user
VA Geographic area > International aspects

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