Track record harm reduction in South Africa

The Bridging the Gaps programme published a track record case about the introduction of harm reduction in South Africa. This concise and powerful document describes the early stages of harm reduction when it was first initiated in the country in 2015, the importance of the approach and the results that were established thus far.

The criminalisation and stigmatisation that PWID experience in South Africa, combined with a fear of using health services due to the criminalisation of PWID, has contributed to the widespread use of unsafe injecting practices, such as the sharing and improper use of injecting equipment. 

In addition to facing stigma and discrimination from health service providers and the public, PWID also face abuse by law enforcement agencies.

Facts & Figures:

  • South Africa has an adult HIV prevalence rate of 19.2%.
  • PWID are particularly vulnerable to HIV and other blood-borne infections through the sharing of injecting equipment. There are an estimated 67,000 PWID in South Africa, with an estimated HIV prevalence rate of 19.4%.
  •  A 2013 UNODC study confirmed that PWID in South Africa were engaging in risky injecting behaviour: 49% reported having used contaminated injecting equipment the last time they injected.

Read the track record here

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