Harm reduction approach in Egypt: the insight of injecting drug users
Independent consultant, Cairo, Egypt
Harm Reduction Journal 2013, 10:17 doi:10.1186/1477-7517-10-17Published: 1 October 2013
Egypt has low HIV prevalence (below 0∙02%) among the general population, mostly attributed to the conservative culture. The 2010 second round biological/behavioral surveillance survey (Bio-BSS) conducted in some governorates revealed concentrated epidemic among male injecting drug users (IDUs).
The current study aimed at exploring the perspective of IDUs regarding the HIV preventive efforts targeting them to provide relevant evidence based policy recommendations. The study included desk review, in-depth interviews with service providers and focus group discussions with IDUs of both sexes.
The study described the current harm reduction interventions in Egypt and highlighted the insights of active IDUs and service providers interacting with them as regards their ability to address their needs and what they miss in these interventions and how IDUs perceive these interventions.
The epidemiological reality of HIV infection in Egypt favors prioritizing efforts to the high risk groups rather than the general population. Hence, harm reduction should be at the core of interventions targeting HIV. The current study revealed that there is still a long way to go to enhance the role of these interventions in influencing a significant behavior change among target group.