- Published on 13 December 2012
There are reports showing that drug use is considerable among youth in Algeria (Walid Ramzi Magharebia reporter, 2010). However, as drug treatment facilities are not well developed in the country, limited information is available on the various aspects of drug use, including injecting drug use. The bulk of the available information comes from a rapid assessment conducted in 2004-5 in three cities on drug users, from which 55% were injecting drug users. Buprenorphine followed by Heroin were the main drugs of injection. The study showed that HIV knowledge is inadequate and risk behaviors are common (Moutassem-Mimouni, et al., 2006).
In Algeria, HIV prevalence among the general population (GP) is low (Algeria MoH, 2012). It seems that the HIV epidemic is concentrated in men who have sex with men (MSMs) and is in a high level in FSWs. The data on HIV prevalence among PWIDs is insufficient. The notion of high HIV prevalence (Abu-Raddad, Hilmi, et al., 2010) comes from the above-mentioned study indicating that a small proportion of drug users reported ever being tested for HIV and 11% had a positive result. The study also suggests higher HIV infection and risk behaviors among female drug users (Moutassem-Mimouni, et al., 2006). Another report from voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) in 2011, showed a 6.9% HIV prevalence among PWIDs (Algeria MoH, 2012). Up until now, 2.3% of HIV/AIDS identified cases in the country have been attributed to injecting drug use (Algeria MoH, 2012).
Algeria is implementing the 2008-2012 National Strategy Plan and is providing extensive HIV preventive interventions to FSWs and MSMs, including outreach, peer education services and condom distribution. Several NGOs including PLHIV are actively engaged in providing these services. VCT and ART are also widely available (Algeria MoH, 2012). However, the country has not developed appropriate HIV surveillance among PWIDs and is not providing the main HIV prevention strategies for PWIDs, such as OST and NSP.
Improvement of the existing surveillance mechanisms and conducting studies on PWIDs are highly recommended in order to reach to a better understanding of the nature and the extent of the problem as well as to assess the needs for treatment and care.