The theme of the Conference in 2013 is 'The Value/s of harm reduction'. The conference calls for “the urgent provision of sufficient political and financial support to address the HIV epidemic driven by injecting drug use in many parts of the world, as well as the ethical basis of the harm reduction philosophy.”
All Alliance programmes on HIV and drug use are shaped by a harm reduction approach, and are informed by human rights, public health and development best practice. With this in mind, we – along with many of our Linking Organisations and programming partners – are participating in a wide range of sessions at the conference.
Susie Mclean, the Alliance’s Senior Adviser: HIV and drug use (and member of the international programme committee for the conference) said: “As the largest civil society provider of harm reduction programming globally, this conference offers a fantastic platform to reflect and share our experience.”
“We will also be promoting the Support. Don’t Punish campaign which focuses on the decriminalisation of drug use as an approach to HIV prevention amongst people who use drugs.”
The conference, based in Vilnius, Lithuania, will have a strong focus on harm reduction in Eastern Europe. There is a regional track running through the conference for Russian-speakers. The successes of the harm reduction programme in Ukraine, led by Alliance Ukraine, will feature in a range of presentations and sessions.
Multi-country harm reduction programming
We are running a specific session to showcase the work of our Community Action on Harm Reduction (CAHR) project. This event will be chaired by Lord Norman Fowler and features the work of CAHR partners Alliance Ukraine, KENPUD (Kenya), Rumah Cemera (Indonesia) and the International Drug Policy Consortium. The conference also provides an opportunity for managers from the five CAHR countries to get together for a learning day just prior to the conference focusing on peer-based outreach approaches and sexual and reproductive health for people who use drugs.
Children and young people in drug use responses
The Alliance is increasingly concerned about the lack of targeted prevention and treatment services for children and young people who use drugs. We will be chairing a session on children, young people and drug use: policy law and practice, where Alliance Linking Organisation Rumah Cemara will also be presenting their work with street children.
And we will be running a workshop to present work on a new toolkit for care workers: Difficult decisions: managing ethical decisions when caring for children and families of key populations. This is a project of the Coalition for Children Affected by HIV and AIDS (CCABA) of which Kate Iorpenda, the Alliance’s Senior Adviser: Children and Impact Mitigation is the Chair. The Malaysian AIDS Council will be piloting this tool in the coming months.
Optimising ART for people who inject drugs
We will also be highlighting a neglected part of the global debate on combination prevention of HIV and that is interventions among people who inject drugs (PWID). Susie Mclean, Senior Adviser: HIV and drug use at the Alliance, will be presenting on the HIV prevention potential of HIV treatment to people who inject drugs (new frontiers for outreach and community mobilisation) alongside Pavlo Smyrnov from Alliance Ukraine who will reflect on their experience of scaling up access to HIV treatment for drug users in Ukraine.
Award winning film
Finally, we are thrilled that our film, Someone’s Mother, Someone’s Brother, will be shown in the conference film festival – both in the public screenings and during the conference itself. The film, featuring the work of Alliance Ukraine and SCDI in Vietnam, was made for the International AIDS Conference in Washington last year. In 2013, it received a Gold Award at the International Visual Communications Awards and a merit in the New York Film and Television Festival. The film was produced by The Edge Picture Company based in London.
A strong Alliance delegation will be in attendance at the conference. For full details of all our activities at the conference click here.
- Download a list of key Alliance HIV and drug use resources.
A fantastic platform to reflect and share our harm reduction experience.