From Addiction to Infection: Managing Drug Abuse in the Context of HIV/AIDS in Africa

Taiwo Akindipe, Lolade Abiodun, Sylvia Adebajo, Rahman Lawal, Solomon Rataemane

Abstract

People who use drugs are at higher risk of HIV: directly through the sharing of injecting equipment, indirectly through associated risk behavior, and physiologically through the substances’ impact on the immune system. Drug users, especially people who inject drugs (PWID) are a bridge to the general population. The treatment of drug addiction and provision of harm reduction interventions have impact on HIV transmission and incidence. Addiction treatment reduces the frequency of drug-related risky behaviors and enhances access and adherence to HIV treatment, resulting in fewer new infections. However, the drug policies of many African countries are punitive and hostile to harm reduction programs. These fuel criminalization of drug use and discrimination against the drug user thereby preventing individuals with drug addiction from accessing treatment programs. There is need to formulate policies aimed at protecting the rights of people with drug addiction and address the ethical aspects of treatment. (Afr J Reprod Health 2014; 18[3]: 47-54)

 

Keywords: Drug users, Drug addiction, Substance use, HIV infection, Africa

 

Résumé 

Les toxicomanes sont plus à risque d’être atteints par le VIH: directement à travers le partage de matériel d'injection, indirectement par l'intermédiaire des comportements à risque associés, et physiologiquement par l'impact des substances sur le système immunitaire. Les usagers de drogues, en particulier les personnes qui s'injectent des drogues (PSiD) sont un pont à la population générale. Le traitement de la toxicomanie et de la fourniture des interventions de la réduction des méfaits ont un impact sur la transmission et l'incidence du VIH. Le traitement de la toxicomanie réduit la fréquence des comportements à risque liés à la drogue et améliore l'accès et l'adhésion au traitement du VIH, ce qui entraîne moins de nouvelles infections. Cependant, les politiques pharmaceutiques de nombreux pays africains sont punitives et hostiles à nuire à des programmes de réduction. Ceux-ci alimentent la criminalisation  de l'usage des drogues et la discrimination contre les usagers de drogues qui empêchant ainsi  les toxicomanes d’avoir accès aux programmes de traitement. Il est nécessaire d'élaborer des politiques visant à protéger les droits des toxicomanes et d’aborder les aspects éthiques du traitement. (Afr J Reprod Health 2014; 18[3]: 47-54)

 

Mots-clés: Les usagers de drogue, de la toxicomanie, de toxicomanie, infection par le VIH, l'Afrique

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