Presenting author: Ernesto Cortes
Presenting author biography:
Drug user activist and researcher from Costa Rica. Secretariat at the Latin American Network of People Who Use Drugs (LANPUD), Researcher at Collective of Drugs and the Law (CEDD), Vicechair of the New York NGO Committee (NYNGOC), professor of anthropology at the University of Costa Rica.
Inclusion and participation of people who use drugs in Global Fund processes in Latin America
Since late 2019, the Latin American Network of People who Use Drugs (LANPUD) is part of a multi-country grant from the Global Fund called HIV positive leadership alliance and key populations (ALEP-PC). During the first year of the project, LANPUD noted that people who use drugs were not represented inside Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs) and any other Global Fund process in the region.
In this context, LANPUD presented a proposal to the Community, Rights and Gender (CRG) Technical Assistance Mechanism of the Global Fund. Resulting in a small grant coordinated by Harm Reduction International (HRI) to carry out a diagnostic of the involvement and participation of people who use drugs in processes related to the Global Fund in eleven Latin American countries where the ALEP-PC project is carried out. The main objective is to develop advocacy strategies to guarantee the participation of people who use drugs at these political spaces.
Findings demonstrated that people who use drugs are completely excluded from Global Fund process and are not even considered a key population in Latin America. It also showed a need to gather more information on HIV and tuberculosis among people who use drugs, including epidemiological data and experience of stigma, discrimination, and criminalisation. There is also a need to strengthen the organisation of people who use drugs in the region and their cooperation with other key populations.
The Global Fund (including the CRG and the CCM Hub) and the CCMs can support representation of people who use drugs. Actively engaging with networks of people who use drugs to generate data and to build community capacity that guarantees their participation at CCMs and other Global Fund related processes.