Latin America - Regional Overview 2014

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HIV predominantly affects marginalised populations in this region, including people who inject drugs. Cocaine and its derivatives are the most commonly injected drugs in this region, with the exception of Northern Mexico and parts of Colombia, where heroin is more widely injected. It is estimated that there are over two million people who inject drugs in Latin America and over one quarter are living with HIV.

The majority of needle and syringe programmes operate in Brazil and Argentina, although there are some small projects in other countries. Mexico and Colombia are the only states that prescribe OST and coverage remains low. The development of harm reduction interventions for cocaine and its derivatives remains nascent. A lack of government support and an over reliance on international funding remain barriers to introducing and/or scaling up harm reduction services in several countries.

There is no access to harm reduction in prisons within Latin America. Immense political pressure to reduce drug cultivation and production has overridden public health responses to drug use and has in many cases violated the human rights of local farming communities cultivating coca crops.

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* Please refer to the full report below for ranges, where these are available. The maps and tables on this page display midpoint averages only.

Download full Global State of Harm Reduction Report (PDF 8.5 MB).

CountryPeople who inject drugsAdult HIV prevalence amongst people who inject drugsOperational needles-syringe exchanges programmesNumber of operational NSP sites (low)Operational OST programmesNumber of operational OST programmes (low)
ARG65829nkYes25No
BOLnknkNoNo
BRA5405005.92Yes300No
CHL21783nkNoNo
COLnk2.03YesnkYes7
CRInknkNoNo
ECUnknkNoNo
SLVnknkNoNo
GTMnknkNoNo
HNDnknkNoNo
MEX1416902.5YesnkYes18
NICnknkNoNo
PANnknkNoNo
PRYnk9.35YesnkNo
PERnk1NoNo
URYnk0.2YesnkNo
VENnknkNoNo

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