The Lancet released a special series on HIV in people who use drugs, including a commentary on the Vienna Declaration, the official declaration of the XVIII International AIDS Conference. The Vienna Declaration seeks to improve community health and safety by calling for the inclusion of science-based evidence in illicit drug policies in order to reduce drug-related harms, including HIV, among people who use drugs.
Other articles in the series cover issues surrounding antiretroviral therapy, opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe programmes, as well as social issues, such as human rights, decriminalization, stigmatisation and imprisonment of people who use drugs.
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Experts Call New Strategies on AIDS Prevention Ineffective!
On Tuesday, July 20th 2010, internationally recognized anti-drug experts from every region of the world united to oppose a set of dangerous unproven global strategies recommended in the Vienna Declaration. The declaration is based on three false premises: 1) that the criminalization of illegal drug use fuels the HIV/AIDS epidemic, 2) that criminal justice and health promotion are conflicting approaches to drug policy, and 3) that the major costs of illegal drug use are those generated by the criminal justice system.
This document was released in anticipation of the 18th International AIDS Conference and has been under scrutiny by several non-governmental organizations. Many of the experts who opposed the Vienna Declaration know from research and practical experience that the optimal way to truly beat addiction, prevent the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, and prevent drug-related harm are effective strategies that target drug use and include prevention, education, treatment and law enforcement efforts and do not trade one for the other.
To view the full joint statement issued opposing the Vienna Declaration, please visit www.ungassdrugs.org.