Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

China's Paradoxical Policies On HIV And Drug Use Threaten Health, Experts Argue

Date:
December 11, 2008
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Injection drug users sentenced to compulsory detention under China's paradoxical policies on HIV/AIDS and narcotics suffer human rights abuses that may imperil their health, says a new study published in PLoS Medicine.

Injection drug users sentenced to compulsory detention under China's paradoxical policies on HIV/AIDS and narcotics suffer human rights abuses that may imperil their health, says a new study.

Based on a review of Chinese government legislation and policy documents, and interviews with 19 recently detained injection drug users and 20 officials in Guangxi Province, Elizabeth Cohen and Joseph Amon from the organization Human Rights Watch find evidence of antinarcotics policies and practices that compromise the health and human rights of drug users. While China has recently been commended for a more liberal public health response to the HIV/AIDS and injection drug use epidemics, the experience of detained drug users suggests that these individuals are in fact subjected to punitive and harmful treatment while in detoxification or "re-education through labour" centres (RELCs).

Almost all injection drug users interviewed reported that Chinese police routinely conduct surveillance of pharmacies and methadone clinics; some interviewees reported having been arrested when seeking to buy clean needles or to access methadone. Interviews with both injection drug users and officials revealed that routine HIV testing, without consent and without disclosure of the result, was the standard policy of detox facilities. HIV-infected detainees were not routinely provided medical or drug dependency treatment, including antiretroviral therapy, the authors report. Injection drug users received little or no information or means of HIV prevention, but reported numerous risk behaviors for HIV transmission while detained, such as injection drug use and unsafe sex.

The authors argue that there are significant contradictions in Chinese policies on HIV/AIDS, which promote wider rollouts of community-based methadone maintenance therapy, and on drug use, which involve more and more detention in centres that appear to violate drug users' human rights. "The failure of the Chinese government to ensure that drug users in detention receive effective treatment for drug dependency and have access to HIV prevention and treatment services while in detox or RELC constitutes a serious risk to the right to life, and jeopardizes the success of China's HIV goals," conclude the authors.

According to Cohen and Amon, in 2005 there were about 700 mandatory drug detox centres in China and 165 RELCs housing a total of more than 350,000 drug users. The Chinese government's "National People's War on Illicit Drugs" has the goal of further increasing the number of people detained.

In an expert commentary on the new study, Stephen Koester (University of Colorado, Denver), who was uninvolved in the research, notes that the accounts generated by this research "provide a sobering reality check to reports heralding China's 'bold steps to scale up' HIV prevention and treatment. They remind us," he says, "that seemingly progressive public health policies cannot fully be effective when carried out within a context of punishment and fear."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cohen et al. Health and Human Rights Concerns of Drug Users in Detention in Guangxi Province, China. PLoS Medicine, 2008; 5 (12): e234 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0050234

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "China's Paradoxical Policies On HIV And Drug Use Threaten Health, Experts Argue." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208203857.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2008, December 11). China's Paradoxical Policies On HIV And Drug Use Threaten Health, Experts Argue. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208203857.htm
Public Library of Science. "China's Paradoxical Policies On HIV And Drug Use Threaten Health, Experts Argue." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081208203857.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins