‘With the launch of a network we make a big step. Now, an official organisation, exclusively for people who use drugs can be invited to policy meetings and will be listened to.’ Project manager Janine Wildschut stated this in her speech during the festive meeting marking the start of Drug User’s Network (DUNE) in Pakistan on 5 May 2015.
Part of APLHIV
DUNE is the first network for and by people who use drugs in Pakistan. It is part of the Association of People Living with HIV (APLHIV) in the country, Bridging the Gaps partner since two years. The results of APLHIV’s study into the health and human rights situation of people who use drugs in Pakistan were published in 2014, resulting in practical information, education and communication (IEC) materials on the rights-situation of people who use drugs in Pakistan. Till today, APLHIV has approximately 3,000 registered members from across Pakistan. The overwhelming majority of the members have a background in drug use.
Influence policy processes
By introducing a network specifically targeting issues regarding people who use drugs, APLHIV seeks to build capacity and foster engagement of the community to influence policy and decision-making processes. With the inception of DUNE a platform is created for people who use drugs to speak in unison. Together they can raise a stronger voice. Janine Wildschut during her speech: ‘Today, I want to express my great respect for the members of DUNE who pick up this huge challenge, stand up for their rights and work to better the situation for themselves, for their community and for society at large.’
Do you want to learn more about APLHIV and DUNE? Visit the APLHIV site
Report on hepatitis prevalence in Pakistan
On the APLHIV site you can also find an excellent report on hepatitis prevalence among people who use drugs in Pakistan. Some important conclusions:
• National prevalence of hepatitis C and B is 4.9% and 2.4% respectively.
• Over 12 million people are living with hepatitis C.
• HIV/hepatitis C co-infection is found to be over 95% in people living with HIV with a drug use background.
• The highest prevalence rate is among people who inject drugs.
• The treatment is very expensive and inaccessible.
• No coordination mechanism exists among HIV and hepatitis programmes.