- Published on 13 December 2012
Yemen is among the world’s least developed countries with high levels of poverty (Yemen MoPH&P, 2012). In recent years it has faced internal conflicts. Limited information is available on the extent and patterns of drug use. Khat has been reported as the main drug of use in Yemen (Laswar, et al., 2009).
Yemen has a low HIV prevalence in the general population. MSM and FSWs are the main at risk groups for contracting HIV. Injecting drug use accounts for 1% of HIV cases (MoPHP, 2012). An appropriate surveillance of drug users is not in place. No information is available about size, HIV prevalence and risk behaviors of PWIDs.
There has been a significant effort to mobilize an effective health response through the current NASP (2009-2015). NGOs and PLHIV have been mobilized to strengthen the existing HIV related systems in the country. Centers providing VCT and ART are widely available and serve a considerable number of clients. The program although seeming to be comprehensive, has not included injecting drug users as an at risk group. There is no plan to conduct mapping and studies on PWIDs. Harm reduction has not been planned. Moreover, pharmacies do not sell needles and syringes without prescriptions (Harm Reduction International, 2012).
With the support of UN agencies, the National AIDS Program has been able to strengthen the capacities and develop prevention and treatment interventions. However, the weakness of political support, shortage in national financial resources, stigma and discrimination against PLHIV and MARPs have limited wide implementation of the strategic plan (MoPHP, 2012). As there is evidence from years ago showing that use of Opioids, as well as injecting drug use exist in the country (UNODC, 2007), carrying out studies to understand the extent and patterns of drug use and HIV related behaviors is crucial and should be planned.