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UN anti-narcotics arm and OPEC partner to curb HIV among drug users

UN anti-narcotics arm and OPEC partner to curb HIV among drug users

The United Nations anti-narcotics agency today joined forces with the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) in a bid to rein in the spread of HIV among drug users.

In a programme called Treatnet II, OFID will provide $3 million to scale up drug prevention and treatment for those vulnerable to the spread of HIV.

“It will enable us to reach those who are marginalized because of their illness and provide them with proper treatment,” said Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

This phase of the programme will target Latin America: Colombia, Haiti, Nicaragua and Peru. It will also target sub-Saharan Africa, including Kenya, Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Zambia.

Through Treatnet, which seeks to enhance both quality and access to drug treatment, medical and social service providers will be better able to understand the ties between drug dependence and HIV, thus allowing them to better treat patients.

“Addiction and HIV are health problems with social consequences. Treatment is often a low priority in developing countries, and yet lack of treatment hurts development,” Mr. Costa noted.

UNODC is currently seeking funds for expanding the programme in South-East Asia.