Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Alliance welcomes formation of regional network of people who use drugs

2
NOV
2009

Aids Alliance

Over twenty-five drug users from nine different countries met in Bangkok on 16th and 17th October 2009 to finalize the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) Constitution and elect a Steering Committee for the first regional network of people who use drugs.

ANPUD has been setup by people who use drugs to advocate for the rights and to unify the voices of their communities across Asia. It has over 150 members throughout the Asia region who are collaborating to influence decisions that affect their lives.

Alliance partner, SASO (Social Awareness Service Organisation), who were formed in 1991 by a group of former injecting drug users seeking to lessen the impacts of drug use and HIV in Manipur, northeast India, have already joined the network.

Ted Nierras, Head of the Asia and Eastern Europe Team at the Alliance said: ‘Despite the Asia region having the largest number of people using drugs in the world, it also has the lowest coverage of harm reduction services. The communities affected by drug use, Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS that the Alliance supports have very few resources.’

By forming ANPUD, people who use drugs in Asia hope to be able to work together to engage organizations and policymakers involved in the Asian response to HIV and drug use.

Susie McLean, Senior Technical Adviser on Drug Use and HIV at the Alliance commented: ‘The Alliance welcomes the formation of ANPUD as a network representing communities of people who use drugs in Asia. Our partners in the region, many of whom provide harm reduction services and pscho-social support programmes for people who use drugs and their families, will be working closely with ANPUD at country and regional level to advocate for laws and policies that support increased HIV prevention, treatment and care.’