Track B report by Sabrina Kitaka
This was a plenary session looking at key issues like
PWID, TB/HIV, SW, and Indigenous groups.
Dr. Khuat Thi Hai Oanh, Vietnam: She
elaborated on the challenges which people who use drugs face; and outlined
their risk for HIV and death. She made
a compelling case for promoting harm reduction, and called for the need to
build an effective community based voluntary treatment for drug dependence. She
stated clearly that a ‘bad policy can
kill a massive number of people; a good policy can save millions’. She also
called on funders to fund harm reduction. She decried the need for the
availability of narloxone and the reduction in the cost of Hepatitis C
treatment to save lives.
Dr. Diane Havlir, USA:
She articulately portrayed the urgent need to step up the pace for the care of
individuals with HIV and TB, particularly in key populations like children, PWID,
and prisoners. Even though there are better diagnostics, and better drugs,
there is still a lot of death due to TB, which is made worse by HIV. She called
upon scientists to shorten the TB drug regimens, and further reduce the time to
diagnosis. Every HIV/TB case prevented and every death averted is a public
Daisy Nakato Namakula,
WONETHA, Uganda: As a female sex worker working in a country with punitive
laws, she described her journey of survival and how she negotiates with policy
makers to enable SWs to remain safe and not be drivers of the epidemic; she
also called upon meaningful involvement of sex workers.
Dr. James Ward,
Australia: He is a descendant of the Pitjaranda peoples and has worked with
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since 1992. Indigenous people
are often neglected, and fall through the cracks of the health care system, with
resultant increased risk of HIV and becoming PWID.They are also more likely to
interact with immigrant s from high risk countries, furthering their risk. He called upon the need to step up the pace in identifying and improving the
health of indigenous people with a key focus on the people of Papua New Guinea
and Torres Strait Islands.