Joining expert committees to promote harm reduction

31 Jan 2015 Bridie Taylor

Harm reduction policies are proven to save lives. Globally, as many as 67% of People Who Inject Drugs (PWIDs) have hepatitis C and an additional 8.4% have hepatitis B. Yet adoption of full harm reduction policies is associated with a 75-80% reduction in hepatitis C acquisition risk. With the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) in 2016, we’re working with key organisations in the field of drug policy to ensure harm reduction policies are adopted to prevent avoidable hepatitis transmission.

The World Hepatitis Alliance believes a global commitment to the harm reduction approach is fundamental in reducing hepatitis infection. By becoming part of expert committees including the New York NGO Committee on Drugs (NYNGOC), Vienna NGO Committee on Drugs (VNGOC) and the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), the Alliance is using its status as the voice of hepatitis patients worldwide to reinforce the need for practical harm reduction policies. Through joining these formal civil society mechanisms, we will be able to engage in UNGASS 2016, raise awareness about the transmission risks of hepatitis and stand up for the needs of a population that is often overlooked and at particularly high risk.