THE FUNDING CRISIS FOR HARM REDUCTION: Donor retreat, government neglect and the way forward

Harm Reduction International, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and the International Drug Policy Consortium have launched a ground-breaking study highlighting the funding crisis for harm reduction. Drugreporter filmed the presentation of the new report at the AIDS conference in Melbourne. Watch the very informative and important speeches of Maria Phelan, David Wilson and Tanya Deshko!

Watch the presentations now on video:

Maria Phelan (Harm Reduction International): The Funding Crisis for Harm Reduction: 



David Wilson (University of New South Wales): Harm Reduction Resourcing in Middle Income Countries



Tanya Deshko (HIV/AIDS Alliance in Ukraine): Situation of Harm Reduction in Ukraine 

The report highlights that:

- "Current investment in harm reduction falls far short of need. US $2.3 billion is needed in 2015 alone to fund HIV prevention among people who inject drugs, according to UNAIDS, but only US $160 million was invested by international donors at last count – approximately seven percent of what is required.
- The majority of people who inject drugs (around 75%) live in middle-income countries and over 40% of new HIV infections are due to unsafe injecting in many of these countries.
- Changes in Global Fund funding policy threaten to significantly reduce allocations for harm reduction, particularly in middle-income countries.
- International donors such as the UK and the US are withdrawing aid from some of the most affected countries due to ‘middle-income’ status and an emphasis on disease-burden and related treatment services.
- National governments are neglecting HIV prevention for people who inject drugs - domestic investment in HIV responses is increasing, but governments are not allocating money to harm reduction, even where HIV transmission rates are high among people who inject drugs. Instead, governments spend vast public sums on ineffective drug law enforcement - just one tenth of one year’s drug enforcement expenditure (estimated to exceed $100 billion globally) would fund global HIV prevention for people who inject drugs for four years.

To sustainably fund harm reduction in low and middle income countries, we must:

- Keep the global fund global
- Invest strategically in harm reduction
- Increase national harm reduction investment
- Rebalance existing resources in favour of health and harm reduction."
(Source: ihra.net)

István Gábor Takács
Drugreporter

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