Professor Julia Buxton spoke at a symposium panel of the International AIDS conference in Amsterdam
Professor Julia Buxton spoke at a symposium panel of the International AIDS conference in Amsterdam at the end of July. The panel was chaired by Ruth Dreifuss, former president of Switzerland and member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy Other panellists included Niamh Eastwood, Director of Release UK, Daniel Joloy of Amnesty International, Daniel Wolfe, Director of the International Harm Reduction Development Program at the Open Society Foundation, Judy Chang Executive Director of INPUD (International Network of People who Use drugs) and John Peter Kools of the Trimbos Institute.
The panel ‘Drugs, Drug Policy and Harm Reduction: A Reality Check’ explored the obstacles posed to the achievement of global HIV reduction targets by drug criminalisation and coercive counter narcotics policies. Julia’s presentation addressed problems of stigma and marginalisation caused by punitive drug laws and how these prevent drug users from accessing harm reduction services such as needle and syringe programs and opiate substitute therapies. Linking with current OSF Global Drug Policy Program funding Julia has received to examine the particular impacts of drug policies on women and girls, her presentation highlighted gender disaggregated differences in treatment provision. In particular, the situation in East Central Europe and Central Asia was a focus owing to the sharp increase in HIV prevalence in the region linked to the adoption of harsh anti-drug laws and homophobic cultural and political attitudes.