The Centre for Research Excellence into Injecting Drug Use (CREIDU) hosted a panel discussion at AIDS 2014 focusing on controversies in treatment as prevention in people who inject drugs (PWID).
The discussion focused on using antiretroviral drugs to prevent the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C in this population, with mentions of barriers including criminalisation, stigmatisation, discrimination, cost of treatments and ethical issues.
Panel members included researchers, activists and representatives of community-based organisations, comprising of The Hon. Michael Kirby (Australia), Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman (Malaysia), Professor Michel Kazatchkine (Switzerland), Sam Nugraha (Indonesia), Dr Niklas Luhmann (France), Tracy Swan (USA) and Professor Margaret Hellard (Australia). The discussion was facilitated by Australian broadcaster Libbi Gorr.
Members of the audience were also invited to ask questions and provide comments.
CREIDU’s Professor Margaret Hellard emphasised the need to provide harm reduction interventions in conjunction with treatment as prevention in both research and practice.
The panellists agreed that providing access to basic services and traditional means of prevention should be prioritised before implementing treatment as prevention in people who inject drugs.
Written by Elise Carrotte
Image: Symposium panel members L-R The Hon. Michael Kirby, Tracy Swan, Dr. Niklas Luhmann, Sam Nugraha, Professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman, Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Professor Margaret Hellard and facilitator Libbi Gorr.