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Young people who use drugs and HIV/AIDS Programme;

This program is aimed at improving the quality and access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services for young people who use drugs (sex workers, young people in schools and street children among others) in Uganda.


  •    Map and Sensitize health service providers and other key stake holders such as; Police, local leaders, Human rights Organisation, Schools, sex workers and brothel managers to reduce stigma and discrimination which deter young people who use drugs (Sex workers, young people in schools and street children among others) from accessing efficient and quality HIV services
  •     Field Outreaches, Information sharing on HIV/AIDS and other risk behaviors such as unclean injecting practices.
  •     Safe sex education (unsafe sexual practices and Condom use education and dissemination)
  •     Advocacy and campaign targeting policy makers and local Authorities through Mobilization of young people who use drugs (Sex workers, young people in schools and street children among others) to demand for the inclusion and adoption of comprehensive package of harm reduction programmes in the National Strategic Plan for integrated HIV services in Uganda.
  •   Quarterly community awareness sessions to break stigma and discrimination and empower young people who use drugs to adapt to early HIV health seeking behavior.
  •    Quarterly HCT Outreaches, referrals and follow-ups for HIV/AIDs and other harm reduction services for young people who use drugs in the following regions and districts: Central Region (Kampala, Mukono, Wakiso, Kalangala, Lyantonde, Rakai, and Nakasongola), Eastern Region (Busai, Tororo-Malaba and Mbale), Western Region (Kasese, Mbarara, and Kabale-Katuna) and  Northern Region (Gulu and Arua).
  • Print and disseminate IEC materials (T-Shirts, Brochures and Posters) with information on HIV and TB and translate them in different languages to suit the needs of Young people who use drugs in the eight districts of Uganda
  • Documentation and communication of stories and experiences for young people who use drugs in the eight districts of Uganda.

Photos Taken during Outreach-Uganda: A hand of an IDU & a drug user smoking a cocktail of Heroin

Comprehensive HIV Prevention Program for People Who Use Drugs

HIV Risk among People who Use Drugs

Drug users are at increased risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV due to drug- and sex-related HIV risk behaviors.

Drug-Related HIV Risk. HIV epidemics spread rapidly among drug users because of the increased exposure to the virus through the sharing of contaminated drug-injection equipment (e.g., needles, syringes, and cookers). Several reasons exist for the sharing of equipment such as:


  •   Group Injecting norms
  •     Difficulty in obtaining clean equipment (i.e., cost and availability), and
  • Inability to keep and maintain one’s own injection equipment due to household, social, or legal environments

Needles are more efficient in transmitting HIV because they provide a direct route from an infected person’s blood to a non-infected recipient’s blood. Also people who inject drugs tend to inject frequently (multiple times daily), which increases their risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne pathogens

Sex-Related HIV Risk. PWUD and PWID also transmit and acquire HIV through high-risk sex behaviors. People who use and/or inject drugs may be sexually active with male and/or female sex partners. Since drugs can impair judgment, drug use has been associated with increases in high-risk sexual behaviors, including engaging in unprotected sex, having multiple and often high-risk sex partners, and exchanging sex for money or drugs

Mother-to-Child Transmission. When a HIV positive female drug user becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child, it is possible that HIV can be transmitted from the mother to the child. This type of risk is lessened if the HIV positive female drug user knows her status, receives anti-natal care, and prevention of mother-to child transmission services. To effectively limit the acquisition and transmission of HIV among PWUD and PWID in Uganda, Uganda Harm Reduction Network-UHRN came up with the program below:
Comprehensive HIV Prevention Program For People Who Use Drugs

This Program aims at reducing or eliminating drug-related risk behaviors that contribute to HIV transmission and acquisition, including unsafe drug preparation and injection practices and reducing or eliminating sex-related risk behaviors contributing to HIV transmission and acquisition, including unprotected anal, vaginal, and oral sex with multiple partners among People Who Use Drugs.

Our comprehensive HIV prevention program for people who use drugs includes the following:


  • Drug User led Community-based outreach
  •    Risk reduction counseling and behavior change interventions
  •     Mobilization of drug users for HIV testing and counseling Outreaches
  •   Condom use education, distribution and promotion
  • Advocating for access to, and safe disposal of, injection equipments
  • Referrals for STI screening and treatment
  •   Referral for HIV care and treatment
  •    Advocating for the Treatment for drug use and dependence
  •    Referral for Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Referral for diagnosis, and treatment of viral hepatitis B and C

The Effects of HIV on the Body

Once the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) enters your body, it launches a direct attack on your immune system. It gradually weakens your natural defenses against disease and infection and can affect every part of your body. Find out how.

– See more at:

Uganda has one of the world’s highest burdens of tuberculosis (TB). Uganda Harm Reduction Network-UHRN works with collaborators to improve, expand, and sustain TB services through drug users’ referrals for TB screening and treatment to partner TB health service providers. The Initiative aims at strengthening drug user’s capacity and ability to access quality comprehensive TB services as well as to improve UHRN’s drug users’ referral systems in Uganda.

UHRN BtG Small Grant Project final Narrative Report for 2nd Year_page41_image72UHRN focuses on improving community TB awareness, multidrug-resistant TB diagnosis and care, and public–private partnerships. The drug user network organizes drug user dialogues on community-based TB care and other aspects of TB prevention and control. And we support our peers(PWUDs) to refer/report all TB cases to our partner TB health service providers and follow up to ensure a better referral system, improve TB case detection, and increase adherence to treatment.

The overall goal of this program is to address the health challenges People Who Use Drugs experience in accessing quality health services. Harassment and inhumane detention by police and other law enforcement agents have lead to a widespread of human rights violations of People Who Use Drugs and also lead to “drug use” going “underground” increasing the likelihood of People Who Use Drugs to engage in high-risk drug using behaviours that makes them vulnerable to harms such as HIV, SRHR, TB, Hepatitis B and C and overdose.  Fear of arrest prevents them from accessing quality and comprehensive health services because they are seen as victims of abuse, voiceless and are perceived as a violent community without rights because of their life style. The program also runs a functional adult literacy, life skills and entrepreneurship trainings aimed at enabling them to start up small income generating activities to sustain their livelihood and improving their quality of life style in Uganda. Visit the link below to view some of our arrested members(drug users):

Capacity Dev’t Programme
This is a mentorship programme that aims to build confidence and enhance leadership skills of both former and current People Who Use Drugs in Uganda. Through trainings and capacity development, the program builds on the resilience of People Who Use Drugs to promote creativity, mentorship and nurture leaders amongst People Who Use Drugs groups within the communities.