11 November 2015
We take a harm reduction approach to HIV and drug use.
A client takes his observed methadone treatment at Ar Rahman mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In 2005, the Malaysian government agreed to fund needle exchanges and methadone substitution programmes as a way to curb needle sharing.
In 2010 the University of Malaya Centre for Addiction Sciences (UMCAS) and Alliance linking organisation Malaysian AIDS Council, suggested that mosques be used to reach more people with needle exchange and methadone substitution programmes. Despite initial opposition, the pilot project at Ar-Rahman opened.
The project gives free methadone to injecting drug users alongside ‘psycho-spiritual support’, which sees clients given instruction on prayers and ablutions before receiving their prescription. The programme has a one year retention rate of 90%, well above the recommended World Health Organisation target of 40-50%. Of those enrolled on the project, 90% will also be working within 12 months of joining.