injecting drug users in Georgia
of users carry the hepatitis C virus
of those who are HIV positive are injecting drug users
The use of drugs developed very quickly in Georgia after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and now affects up to 1 % of the entire population, that is 45,000 people. In a social setting where there is strong rejection of drug users, the institutional response is based solely on criminalisation rather than rehabilitation.
«70 to 74% of drug users carry the Hepatitis C virus.»
Over 70% of users carry the hepatitis C virus and 50% of those who are HIV positive are injecting drug users. In May 2015, Georgia initiated a national plan for the elimination of Hepatitis C.
However, users, who are widely stigmatised and marginalised, still have only limited access to treatment.
Since 2011, the reception centre opened by Doctors of the World and New Vector, its local partner, has offered activities on prevention and awareness of the risk of infectious diseases to drug users . Our teams provide them with injecting kits, screening and medical and dental consultations. In order to reach the most isolated users, peer support workers go out to them with sterile equipment to spread the prevention message.
In addition, Doctors of the World supports the actions and campaigns of the national drug users network (GeNPUD). The association supports their struggle to secure their rights and for access to treatment for Hepatitis C, and campaigns for them to be involved in devising national policies to combat the virus.
Doctors of the World has developed a pilot Hepatitis C treatment programme with 266 users, to demonstrate the pertinence of a model of care management which is adapted to the specific needs of drug users and to underline their capacity to take care of their health given appropriate support. In 2016, in the Samegrelo region (Zugdidi), where the prevalence of HCV is the highest in the country the distribution of this model of care management and treatment for HCV was initiated through a partnership with Xenon, an association of young psychologists and doctors.
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