Intended for healthcare professionals


HIV in injecting drug users in Asian countries

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: (Published 23 September 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:697
  1. Alex Wodak, director, Alcohol and Drug Service (,
  2. Robert Ali, director of clinical policy and research (,
  3. Michael Farrell, senior lecturer in addictions (
  1. St Vincent's Hospital, Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW 2010, Australia
  2. University of Adelaide
  3. Addictions Resource Centre, London SE5 8RS

    Available effective interventions need to be implemented

    Discussions of HIV control in developing countries usually pay insufficient attention to injecting drug use. Yet half the population of the world now lives in developing countries within a few hours' flight from Bangkok, in a region where HIV infection is dominated by the sharing of injecting equipment. The number of people infected with HIV in India and China alone is estimated to increase from 6-10 million at present to 30-40 million by 2010.1 By 2010 The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) expects that Asia will outstrip sub-Saharan Africa in absolute numbers of HIV carriers.1 In seven of the 10 UNAIDS regions—accounting for 90% of the global population—injecting drug users are considered among the most important risk groups for HIV.2

    Fortunately, strategies to prevent the spread of HIV infection among and from injecting drug users can be effective and cost effective interventions. In addition, the effectiveness and safety of these prevention strategies have been known for almost two decades. Moreover, we …

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