- Published on 13 December 2012
Kuwait has medical and health services infrastructure. Drug treatment is provided mainly through the Addiction and Psychiatric Hospital (APH), which also provides the anecdotal information regarding national drug use. However, many drug dependents travel to other countries for treatment. Opioids are accounted as the main drugs for treatment demand and injecting drug use is also prominent in the drug treatment setting (Kuwait MoH, 2012; UNODC, 2011).
Kuwait has a low-prevalence HIV epidemic. Although mass HIV screening exists, the pattern of HIV transmission is highly unknown. PWIDs are screened when arrested, imprisoned or admitted for treatment. From around 750 HIV testing among PWIDs in 2009 and 2010, only one was positive (Kuwait MoH, 2012). Nevertheless, unprotected sex, as well as the sharing of injection equipment, have been mentioned as common, both in communities and in prisons. A high HCV infection rate has also been reported among PWIDs (UNODC, 2011).
The country lacks a National Strategy for HIV control. There has been no specific targeted HIV education and prevention for MARPs. The main focus has been on HIV testing, particularly testing of expatriates, who will be deported if the result is positive. However, VCT is not available. ART is available and the country reports a good coverage of ARV therapy for Kuwaitis. OST and NSP have not been made available in the country (Kuwait MoH, 2012).
The country reports that the re-establishment of the National AIDS Committee and development of National Strategy Plan for HIV will be a priority for the year 2012 (Kuwait MoH, 2012). Limited political support for HIV/AIDS and limited allocation of human and financial resources, as well as a lack of evidence on susceptibility of the country to an HIV outbreak have resulted in poor HIV prevention planning and implementation. Stigma and criminalization of MARPs and weakness of CSOs in this field have additionally hampered the possibility of an effective HIV response. Moreover, the country has not received any external support for conducting research, increasing capacity or mobilization of resources (Kuwait MoH, 2012).