Women, harm reduction and HIV.
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This study touches on three important barriers to harm reduction with regards to drug use, unprotected sex and the sex trade. Advanced Sign out There is an unavailability of targeted drug treatment centres for women. Simply being a drug user or sex worker exposes women to HIV infection. In my experience, the world has stopped caring about this type of woman, thus, driving her to experience rejection, leading to more drug use, unprotected sex and self neglect. So, quite clearly, stigma and discrimination are the greatest hindrances to harm reduction, sexual or drug use practices. This, therefore, robs the woman of "the right to the highest attainable standard of health" (Hunt, Lancet 2007. 370:369-371 [PMID:17679000j). This is a gender and human rights issue, where neglect could drive a woman to selling sex without the use of condom in order to finance a drug habit. The other issue demonstrated in this paper is the absence of institutions geared towards meeting the needs of women drug users. In fact, there are none in Kenya and many other African countries. In my experience. until and unless policy makers and programmers recognize the needs of this vulnerable population and respond appropriately, the gap will continue to exist. Targeted harm reduction (drugs) programmes should be formulated.
CitationReprod Health Matters 2008 May; 16(31 ):168-81
Center for HIV Prevention and Research, University of Nairobi