HIV Events

Through The Eye of the Needle – A Celebration of Drug User Activism

The 20th International AIDS Conference in 2014 was held in Melbourne, Australia. People who use drugs from around the world held an event to celebrate and acknowledge almost 3 decades and counting of drug user activism in the response to HIV/AIDS. The event included the launch of a new film “We are drug users” – a film exploring the contribution made by drug using communities and drug user organisations across the world – as seen ‘through our eyes’.


Richard Branson Introduces the Event at AIDS 2014



We Are Drug Users – Voices from the Global Movement of People Who Use Drugs



Russian Embassy Protest – World AIDS Day 2011

One of the greatest health and human rights catastrophes of our times is currently playing itself out in the Russian Federation. In most of the developed world, the AIDS epidemic amongst people who inject drugs (PWIDs) has abated as a result of the implementation and scale-up of evidence-based harm reduction programmes including opioid substitution treatment, needle and syringe exchange programmes. Research shows that countries which implemented evidence-based harm reduction programmes early on, including many countries in Europe, have successfully contained and reversed HIV infection rates among people who inject drugs, most such countries have prevalence rates amongst PWIDs of less than 5%.* In Russia, by contrast, an ideological refusal to implement, or even allow such programmes has fuelled a pandemic in which 37.2% of 1.7 million PWIDs are estimated to be living with HIV (although in some regions prevalence rates are up to 75%).

On the 1st of December, International AIDS Day, the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD), and local organisations of people who use drugs in several countries around the world will lead protests for the millions of Russian people who use drugs who have needlessly lost their lives. These deaths are directly attributable to the brutal nature of Russian drug policies, which instead of offering treatment, force opiate users into confined detox programmes, which are often little more than prison camps.

The Australian Injecting & Illicit Drug Users League a member of INPUD is joining this global protest in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. People who use injecting drugs helped avert a HIV epidemic in this country; we were provided with the equipment to make that possible; injecting equipment and pharmacotherapies. Our Russian friends cannot be left alone to die in silence!

Below is a collection of information, web links and videos relevant to the 2011 World AIDS Day Protest including footage of the Australian protest and a video collage of the 13 protests that occured around the world.

Russian Embassy Protest for World AIDS Day 2011

Canberra Australia

Russian Embassy Protest for World AIDS Day 2011

Video Collage of International Collaboration (13 Cities)