In the shadows: the Chanura Kol baseline study on women who inject drugs in Manipur, India
Women who inject drugs are largely neglected in the current HIV strategy in India. This study explores the accessibility, knowledge of and availability of HIV prevention services among women who inject drugs in Manipur, India. The paper points to a significant gap in existing services that are appropriate and sensitive to the needs of these women.
The paper finds that:
- these women experience significantly inadequate access to information and services to meet the full range of their needs
- exclusion, stigma and discrimination, and violence are part of their daily existence, which alongside unsafe injecting and sexual behaviour makes them vulnerable to HIV infection.
- the scale up of a response that provides appropriate, accessible, affordable, targeted and quality interventions is required
- a package of services addressing vulnerability through drug use, unsafe sex and rights violations is essential to meet the needs of this community
- while awareness of existing services is high, use remains low, requiring concerted efforts to address barriers to access
- a comprehensive approach to harm reduction and drug treatment at scale is much needed
- empowerment of women who inject drugs to engage in processes and decision-making that affects them is necessary.