Outside of Africa, nearly one in three HIV cases is the result of contaminated needles and syringes. Injection drug use drives the HIV epidemic in Russia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Ukraine, Vietnam, and dozens of other countries.
Methadone and buprenorphine, also known as medication-assisted treatment, are the best researched and most effective treatments for opiate dependence. By eliminating withdrawal and reducing cravings, methadone and buprenorphine allow opiate users to reduce or stop injection, which helps prevent HIV. Because they help people stabilize their lives, they also promote adherence to AIDS treatment medications. Methadone and buprenorphine are on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
So why are these lifesaving medications available to less than 10% of people who need them?