Journal Article

Drug Use, Harm Reduction, and Health Policies in Argentina: Obstacles and New Perspectives

Silvia Inchaurraga

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 37, issue Supplement_5, pages S366-S371
Published in print December 2003 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online December 2003 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/377564
Drug Use, Harm Reduction, and Health Policies in Argentina: Obstacles and New Perspectives

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High human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) incidence among injection drug users (IDUs) shows the failure of traditional health policies. The preference of IDUs for injected cocaine exposes them to high risks for contracting HIV because of the frequency of drug use. The correlation of poverty with the selling of drugs, especially the so-called “drugs of poverty”—freebase cocaine and crack—is a consequence of prohibitions against drug use and of urban unemployment. In Argentina, “zero-tolerance” approaches and punishment for personal drug use tend to exclude IDUs from the country's health care system. A historical perspective is presented regarding approaches to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and harm reduction in Latin America and Argentina, where, despite isolated efforts, IDUs had no free access to sterile needles until the end of the 1990s. We present the impact of programs and campaigns of the Argentinean Harm Reduction Association, showing how and why, even with obstacles, harm reduction is possible and necessary.

Journal Article.  4286 words. 

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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