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Int J Drug Policy. 2007 Aug;18(4):271-80. Epub 2007 Jun 21.

Access to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for injecting drug users in the WHO European Region 2002-2004.

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World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, Denmark. <>


Providing equitable access to highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART) to injecting drug users (IDUs) is both feasible and desirable. Given the evidence that IDUs can adhere to HAART as well as non-IDUs and the imperative to provide universal and equitable access to HIV/AIDS treatment for all who need it, here we examine whether IDUs in the 52 countries in the WHO European Region have equitable access to HAART and whether that access has changed over time between 2002 and 2004. We consider regional and country differences in IDU HAART access; examine preliminary data regarding the injecting status of those initiating HAART and the use of opioid substitution therapy among HAART patients, and discuss how HAART might be better delivered to injecting drug users. Our data adds to the evidence that IDUs in Europe have poor and inequitable access to HAART, with only a relatively small improvement in access between 2002 and 2004. Regional and country comparisons reveal that inequities in IDU access to HAART are worst in eastern European countries.

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