Denied the right to access Harm Reduction commodities- (Needle and Syringes)
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TB/HIV Care provides us with sterile needles and syringes to inject with to prevent us from sharing needles with each other. They educate us on the necessary skills that we need in order to inject safely and to prevent spreading various blood-borne diseases like HIV and Hepatitis B & C.
We also have a Drop-In Centre where we receive Opioid Substitution Therapy and basic health services such as HIV testing, TB and STI screening, Psychosocial Services and access to a Social Worker. We are given condoms and lubrication and taught how to use them properly (safer sexual practices).
TB/HIV Care Step-Up Project run a Harm Reduction project in Durban for drug users, the project has been instructed as off the 9 May 2018, by eThekwini Municipality to stop their services to us. We feel this is very unfair and many of our people will be put at risk of contracting HIV because they will have to share their needles. We would not have a safe place to throw our needles away and this might affect the community around us.
As stated in our Constitution, we have the right to access HIV prevention commodities, which is also included in the National Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and in the World Health organization (WHO) guidelines for people who inject drugs.
We urge the eThekwini municipality not to stop these vital services to us because we rely on TB/HIV Care for their continuous support and help they have given us for the past 3 years.
We started this petition to raise awareness on the topic and to promote all of the benefits that having harm reduction services within our communities. Harm reduction programs are a vital service for both people who use drugs and the community at large. Everyone should have access to sterile equipment as well as education on prevention of blood-borne viruses and other health issues affecting drug users.
Support the petition by signing the below, which is a call for the eThekwini Municipality and local Government of the Republic of South Africa to allow the continuing of the HIV prevention and harm reduction Services.
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