Leading Aids scientists, doctors and campaigners are calling for a major change in global policies towards injecting drug users, in an attempt to stem the spread of HIV and save lives.

The Vienna Declaration, named for the city where the XVIII International Aids conference will take place next month, says that the UN-led policy of drug prohibition has led to harm. The war on drugs has resulted in the criminalisation of injecting drug users – and the result has been to drive them into the shadows and increase the likelihood that HIV infection will be spread through shared needles and other unsafe practices.

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