Drugreporter and INPUD present the fourth episode of an oral history of the movement of people who use drugs. This time we discover the vibrant user movement in South Africa.
The rapid development of harm reduction services in recent years in South Africa has largely been influenced by the movement of people who use drugs in the country. 10 years ago, there was no needle exchange program in the country, and now there are multiple, providing 2 million sterile syringes a year for people who inject drugs. The South African Network of People who Use Drugs, supported by the non-governmental organisation TB HIV Care, tirelessly campaigns for the humanisation of people who use drugs. They managed to change the aim of the South African drug strategy to focus on providing support for problematic drug use, rather than creating a drug free society. People who use drugs are consulted when developing the country’s drug strategy. Their advocacy for visible policing resulted in fewer arbitrary arrests, and the South African Police Services stopped the use of quota systems, which required a certain number of drug users to be arrested. There is still a lot to do to end the criminalisation of people who use drugs, and to end the racial injustice and discrimination of women, which are widespread in the country. Watch the film featuring Angela McBride, Nelson Medeiros, and Shaun Shelly of SANPUD.
Disclaimer: SANPUD believes in representativity and diversity. This film features three of the four founders and does not reflect the current diversity of the board, staff, or membership of SANPUD.
Starting on Monday, 6th of July 2020, we publish one episode per week for 10 weeks. The episodes follow the timeline of the development of the movement of people who use drugs from Amsterdam to Afghanistan and globally.
The production of the series has been a great adventure. We conducted 34 video interviews in 20 countries around the world. 8 interviews were filmed by the Rights Reporter Foundation, the rest by members of our Drugreporter Video Advocacy Network, video activists, and freelance videographers worldwide.
The documentary series is part of the online conference “HIV 2020: Community Reclaiming the Global Response” which runs from July through October of 2020.
An alliance of global key population-led networks, networks of people living with HIV, treatment activists, and our supporters, has formed to organize an alternative international community-led online event.
The HIV2020 alliance has decided to organize the community-led event to provide an alternative for individuals who cannot or will participate in the AIDS2020 virtual conference. Its goal is to offer new opportunities to reaffirm the leading role communities play in the global HIV response.
To view each new episode every Monday, beginning today, visit this page.
This project was made possible by the financial support of the Bridging the Gaps Programme. This unique programme addresses the common challenges faced by sex workers, people who use drugs and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in terms of human rights violations and accessing much-needed HIV and health services. Go to www.hivgaps.org for more information.
István Gábor Takács