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ID: 837

Type of submission: Workshop

Conference track: Practice

Topics: Key Populations and Harm Reduction; Women, Drug Use and Harm Reduction

Presenting author: Ruth Birgin/Monica Anda Ciupagea

Presenting author biography:

Ruth is the founder of the Women and Harm Reduction International Network and is an active member of the International Network of Women who Use Drugs, Ruth has worked as a harm reduction specialist for over twenty years throughout Australia, Asia and, more recently, Eastern Africa.

Addressing the specific needs of women who inject drugs

Monica Ciupagea, Ruth Birgin, Judy Chang, Olga Belyaeva, Fabienne Hariga, Monica Beg

Women who inject drugs (WID) face a range of gender-specific barriers to accessing HIV-related services, and remain a particularly hard-to-reach population even where harm reduction programs are in place. The stigma and discrimination that they experience, which often is heightened by gender-based violence and abuse, increases their risk for contracting HIV and other blood-borne viruses as well as a wide range of sexually transmitted infections.

Where harm reduction services are available, they are tailored primarily toward men; as a result, women often find that their specific needs are unacknowledged or unaddressed. Often, harm reduction programmes and projects may not be able to guarantee women’s personal safety and confidentiality and do not provide sexual and reproductive health services, prevention of mother-to-child transmission services, or child care.

Learning Objectives: The workshop will build the capacity of the participants to mainstream gender into services for people who inject drugs.
It will provide guidance on HIV programming for WID and specifically aims to:
• motivate harm reduction service providers to expand access to women who inject drugs through appropriate gender-sensitive and gender-specific services;
• build the capacity of harm reduction service providers to address gender issues within existing services and/or to develop gender-specific services;
• share examples of gender transformative services that tackle gender inequalities as they impact on WID

1. Introduction to learning objectives, methodologies and programme
2. Reconsidering risk game: What makes WID 'hard-to-reach?' Interactive exercise
3. What is role for WID Community Based Organisations in the AIDS response? Panel discussion with women-led organizations including INWUD, WHRIN, EHRN
4. Assessing capacity to meet WID needs: interactive exercise and paired-sharing of experience
5. International standards and statements that can assist harm reduction service providers in developing WID services
5. Lessons for success, evaluation, closing