Islamabad (Adnan Hameed): The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Islamabad organized an ‘Awareness Workshop on Drug Use and HIV’ on 14 December 2023 in collaboration with the Ministry of Narcotics Control (MONC), UNODC, UNDP, UNAIDS and WHO in Lahore.

The purpose of this workshop was to create awareness among health journalists on drug abuse, HIV AIDS, HIV prevention among people who inject drugs (PWID), harm reduction, and OAMT.

Representatives of key media houses and prominent health journalists attended the one-day workshop. Dr. Farrukh Mehmood, UNODC welcomed all the participants and said that the workshop is being organized to create awareness of drug use and drug use related to HIV, the various interventions/approaches for drug dependence treatment, and prevention of HIV and blood-borne infection transmission among PWID.

Mr. Naeem Malik, Ministry of NHSR&C presented a brief background of HIV and AIDS epidemic in the country and shared other dynamics of this deadly and silent disease. He said the government of Pakistan is committed to halting the disease and putting all resources with the support of provincial AIDS Control Programs as well as UN partners and the Global Fund to fight AIDS TB and Malaria. He shared that over the last decade, the disease has been concentrated in certain key populations like injecting drug users, Male sex workers, and Transgender. He added that the epidemic in drug users in Pakistan is alarmingly high. He said this meeting is organized to share details of a new initiative of OAMT which is related to addressing issues related to drug users’ symptoms and therefore can stabilize his/her life.

The injecting drug user stops injecting and sharing syringes which prevent transmission of HIV, Hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases. People suffering from dependence on opioids require long-term drug treatment, rehabilitation, and care.

Drug dependence treatment aims at improving the health and quality of people suffering from drug dependence managed by people who are professionals and who understand the basic underlying health conditions.

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