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SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM

There is an urgent need to address the twin epidemics of drug abuse and HIV/AIDS in Asia. A majority of people using drugs have shifted to injecting drugs from traditional modes of oral use (smoking /inhaling/ sniffing). The main factors contributing to increasing drug use in Asia are:

  • A large opium / heroin producing and trafficking region.
  • War, conflict and political instability.
  • Severe impact to increasing population growth and poverty resulting in marginalized communities.
  • Large number of homeless youth living on the streets and using drugs.
  • Few interventions those are often inaccessible, inadequate and ineffective.

The fall out is an estimated 3.3 million people injecting drugs in Asia. This however represents only a small percentage of the overall number of people using drugs in Asia.

Of those injecting drugs, between 55-78% share syringes which is evident from the fact that even in HIV negative injecting drug use is above 80% (Courtesy UNAIDS Regional Office, Bangkok)

Pakistan is one of the countries labeled as "low prevalence" and "high risk" in term of HIV/AIDS. This statement is based on limited data and cannot be generalized.

2176 cases of HIV and 286 of AIDS have been reported to National AIDS Control Program up until mid 2004, the actual number however, is believed to be much higher due to under reporting.

In Pakistan, there are an estimated 29,326,000 adolescents (aged 10-19 years), representing 23% of the total population. Very little research has been done to look at the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviour

Methodology

Behavior Change Communication Strategy (BCC) was adopted. Four peer outreach workers carried out the syringe exchange and condom education and provision program at Sheikhupura. Injecting drug users (IDUs) were provided education for correct use of condom and provision of condoms and new syringes were given to the IDUs and used syringes were put it in the cane which was then sent to the hospital for incretion. The purpose of this program is to minimize the risk of HIV transmission among drug users.

Achievements

 Year
No. of drug users registerd
Syringes (Out)
Syringes (In)
Condoms
 2004-2005
480
1780
1106
960
 2005-2006
460
2236
1608
1060
 Total
940
4016
2714
2020


(May 2002-May 2006)

     
     

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