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New global report launched by the International AIDS Society recommends a new paradigm for treating injecting drug users: 'Seek, test, treat and retain'
Date:7/22/2010

Thursday, 22 July, 2010 (Vienna, Austria)-- Against the backdrop of some of the globe's fastest growing HIV epidemics in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, a report launched today at the XVIII International AIDS conference (AIDS 2010) in Vienna makes the case for a new model for scaling up treatment and prevention of HIV amongst Injecting Drug Users (IDUs).

The report, "Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS amongst Drug Using Populations: A Global Perspective", advocates a science based approach and stresses the urgent need to increase access and expand take up of highly active anti retroviral therapy (HAART) among drug using populations to improve health and reduce new infections. (1)

Increasing evidence supports the idea of expanding the implementation of outreach to high-risk, hard-to-reach drug using populations (seek), to encourage HIV testing (test), to link HIV+ individuals to care (treat), and to sustain these individuals in care (retain). The seek, test, treat, and retain model is also deliverable within the criminal justice system.

"The evidence is in, individuals with and without a history of injection drug use derive similar survival benefit from HAART. There is an urgent need to treat drug users, not abuse them as much of the current drug policies do," said Dr Julio Montaner, President of the International AIDS Society. "Sound public health policy demands that we increase access to HIV treatment and prevention for this population."

Two decades of experience have demonstrated that needle exchange programs are a proven way of preventing HIV infection amongst injecting drug users (IDUs). The report outlines how programs can increase this effectiveness by scaling up a comprehensive package of harm reduction interventions.

"Offering Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST), such as methadone or buprenorphine, significantly decreases HIV acquisition and transmission and increases the chances of HIV positive people w
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Contact: Michael Kessler
mkessler@ya.com
43-699-172-85633
International AIDS Society
Source:Eurekalert

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