Johannesburg TimesThe spread of HIV among injecting drug users across Europe – outside of sub-Saharan Africa one in three new cases of HIV area among users – will be high on the agenda at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna, Austria, which starts on Sunday.

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, injecting drug use is the “primary cause” of the rapid spread of new infections.

Ahead of the 18th AIDS meeting, experts from across the world have released the “Vienna Declaration” calling on governments and the UN to promote rational drug policies that promote human rights and public health.

“As scientists, we are committed to raising our collective voice to promote evidence-based approaches to illicit drug policy that start by recognizing that addiction is a medical condition, not a crime,” they stated, warning that the criminalisation of illicit drug users fuels HIV.

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