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  • Why Russia Needs Gender-Sensitive Harm Reduction

    Posted on August 7th, 2011 TimB No comments

    In Russia, as in many countries, women who use drugs face  profound structural and individual challenges to access essential health care. According to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, Russia is home to 1.6 million injecting drug users and women are estimated to make up as many as 40 percent. Meanwhile, more than one third of the country’s people who inject drugs are believed to be living with HIV. Yet local groups who provide harm reduction services report as few as one in six of their clients are female.

    Poverty, stigma, domestic violence, police harassment, and fear of losing custody of their children are only some of the barriers preventing women who use drugs from seeking medical and counseling services.  And if they do come for medical care, they are likely to be denied access or receive substandard services from doctors and nurses who are not trained and not prepared to deal  with their issues.

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