Addressing Injecting Drug Use in Asia and Eastern Europe
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While the global HIV incidence dropped about 20 % in the past 10 years, HIV incidences among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Asia and Europe continue to increase and to account for high proportions of new HIV infections among PWID globally. Great changes have been observed in this region, such as progressing from rejection to acceptance of harm reduction strategies in Asian countries, but no such change has occurred in Eastern European countries. China has quickly scaled up harm reduction activities nationwide, resulting in the decline of HIV incidence and HIV prevalence among PWID since 2006. However, insufficient scaling up of harm reduction programs in other countries has failed to slow down their HIV epidemics. In Eastern European countries where the spread of HIV among PWID is the most severe, only about 15 % of funding for harm reduction programs are from domestic sources. Strong political and financial commitment from countries in this region is urgently needed to quickly scale up evidence-based harm reduction strategies in order to prevent the HIV epidemic from spreading rapidly from PWID to the heterosexual general population.