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Needle and Syringe Programmes under pressure in South Africa

With the needles and syringe programme in Durban closed by the local authorities since May 2018, the services in Port Elisabeth are also facing difficulties now. 

The local community raised complaints to the city council about crime they associated with drug use in their neighbourhood. As a result, the council issued local organisation TB/HIV Care to seize services in one of the city’s major hot spots. 

To avoid a complete shutdown, a series of roundtable talks are ongoing. The situation shows an urgent need of continuous advocacy in support of harm reduction as an effective approach to not only tackle HIV, but also reduce crime and public order problems.

People who use drugs in Durban have already seen their health deteriorate rapidly in the complete absence of clean gear. HIV is on the rise and people suffer from overdose and abscesses. Worse, people feel that they are being completely left behind. Mainline gives a shout out to our South African friends: continue the fight!  


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