Increase in Injection Amphetamine Use Among Asian Youth Raising Risk of HIV Infection, UNICEF Says
An increase in injection amphetamine use in Asia is putting young people at a higher risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tuberculosis and other diseases, Robert Bennoun, UNICEF regional adviser on HIV/AIDS, said at a five-day conference on drug use, the Associated Press reports (Associated Press, 4/8). UNICEF estimates that there are approximately 33 million amphetamine users in Asia and that children and young people account for the majority of new users. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 make up the majority of new HIV/AIDS cases worldwide, and injection drug use accounts for many of these cases. At the conference, titled the "International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm," Bennoun said that programs seeking to prevent drug use among young people should also seek to reduce the risk to those young people already using drugs (UNICEF release, 4/8). "Incarcerating young people in detention centers or their equivalent only serves to split families and communities with no evidence of effective results," Bennoun said. The conference, which began on Sunday in Chiang Mai, Thailand, concludes today (Associated Press, 4/8).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.