During the ‘health and rights for People who use drugs’ meeting, organized by Bridging the Gaps partners AFEW International and Mainline (8 – 10 April 2014) big concerns were raised about the available funds for harm reduction activities.

2 needles per month

With globally 2 needles per month for people who inject drugs and 8 out of 100 injecting drugs users receiving opiate substitution treatment it became clear that too little money is spent to fight the HIIV epidemic for this specific group in society. And the prospects even look bleaker. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria is currently the biggest donor for harm reduction but due to its shift away from funding of middle income countries, where (injecting) drug use is prevalent, less money will be allocated to harm reduction.  The reduced bilateral commitments in the global economic crisis, the national government’s unwillingness to invest in harm reduction and other donor priorities in a post-MDG (Millennium Development Goals) world make us even more worried.

10 by 20 initiative

In finding ways for resource mobilisation, an initiative ‘10 by 20’ started by Harm Reduction International that entails an investment of 10% of the money that is spent for enforcement of drugs laws would suffice to cover harm reduction. This can be achieved in 2020 when the decriminalization of drugs use would be a fact.

In order to ‘getting to zero’ with HIV infections we need to invest in harm reduction! All global partners and national authorities should take up the responsibility to achieve zero new infections among people who use drugs.

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