As the name suggests, harm reduction programs tend to refer to a particular set of strategies that reduce the harm commonly associated with psychoactive drug use. Since this is a matter that society is bent upon reducing, we need to understand the program and corporate with the same. Among the top causes of implementation, HIV stands to affect the most, and it is definitely a problem that needs our attention. So to focus all your energy in the right direction, here’s a brief take on harm reduction for HIV prevention.
The Beginning Stages
The concept and the basic understanding of harm reduction received a comeback in the early part of the 1980s, which is also the beginning of the HIV epidemic. During this time, healthcare workers used to provide clean syringes to people who inject drugs instead of focusing on the aspect of abstinence. But things changed from then as a slow form of progress was visible, and everyone began to utilize the resources they had at their disposal.
These resources or effective ways of reduction policies started making sense, and people began ensuring a form of change that mattered the most. But that alone cannot be quoted and spoken about the program because several problems are associated with the same. Although the positive set of results-pushed forward by the program did make matters happen, it was not enough to make a difference.
Out of 179 countries where injecting drug use is widely present, about 86 provide effective harm reduction practices. This is not a good figure considering the impact that these programs can cause on the matter. Apart from that, countries that do have this program do not receive the right form of coverage, and the matter is just present around the corner.
If one has to evaluate the impact, it clearly showcases figures that can be improved and taken towards the right extent. Since harm reduction for HIV prevention is something that The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes and understands, one can understand the importance of the program. Countries that have understood the same are the UK, Australia, and Switzerland. Known as the early implementers, these countries have been able to primarily benefit from the program.
Moreover, North America, Asia, and Europe also come into the mix with harm reduction studies that found OST being associated with a 54% reduction in risk of HIV infection among people who inject drugs. While these changes did come with harm reduction, they need to go ahead and enter a specific level of advancement. For that purpose, we need to promote the program and understand the importance that it holds. Hence, that was a brief take on harm reduction for HIV prevention.