- LIVING WITH HIV/AIDS
- SOCIAL ISSUES
- ABOUT US
- NEWS & INFORMATION
Harm reduction is defined as: ‘A policy or program directed towards decreasing the adverse health, social, and economic consequences of drug use without requiring abstinence from drug use.' (Riley et al, 1997)
The proportion and number of AIDS cases and estimated HIV infections attributable to injection drug use in Canada have been increasing steadily since the beginning of the HIV epidemic in the early 1980s. In 1998, approximately 28% of all new HIV infections reported were transmitted through injection drug use, compared to 19% in 1997 (Health Canada, May 1999).
The CAS Board of Directors recognizes the importance of working within a harm reduction approach when dealing with substance use issues and further acknowledges the fact that the community has already been applying harm reduction approaches in work in different areas such as safer sex issues. There is recognition that current drug laws, government policies and societal attitudes may, in fact, be contributing to the rising HIV infection rates by limiting our ability to deal effectively with the complex issues of substance use.
The CAS Board of Directors recognizes that harm reduction ensures the quality and integrity of human rights and respect for individual choices. It is a philosophy that is non-judgmental and that takes into account individual needs and the diversity of approaches when dealing with substance use issues.
Position Statement: Harm Reduction and Substance Use
Harm Reduction and Substance Use (adopted February 2000). © Canadian AIDS Society. Published 07/27/2007. Updated 02/26/2010. Web. Retrieved 05/19/2013 from http://www.cdnaids.ca/harmreductionandsubstanceuseadopted