23 March 2023

Harm reduction information note – Bangladesh

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Harm Reduction Information Note - Bangladesh

This information note has been compiled by Harm Reduction International (HRI) in collaboration with the Network of Asian People who Use Drugs (NAPUD), the Network of People Who Use Drugs in Bangladesh (NPUD), and Research and Management Consultants Ltd (RMCL), to support Global Fund Grant Cycle 7 processes.

Epidemiological context

  • 24% of new HIV diagnoses in 2019 were among people who inject drugs.
  • There are an estimated 33,067 people who inject drugs in Bangladesh.
  • HIV prevalence among people who inject drugs is estimated to be 2.5%.
  • The prevalence of hepatitis B and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs is 7% and 31%, respectively.

HIV prevention, treatment and harm reduction for people who inject drugs

  • Bangladesh adopted a national harm reduction policy in 2014.
  • There are fourty-five harm reduction centres (Drop In Centers/Outlet/Integrated Centres at Government Facility) in Bangladesh, offering outreach services, needle and syringe programmes (NSP), HIV Testing Services, sexually transmitted infection management and referral services.
  • The harm reduction centres serve about 190,00 people who inject drugs throughout twenty-two districts with 60% coverage of the estimated 33,067 people who inject drugs.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, peer educators carried out secondary distribution of needles and syringes.
  • Methadone for opioid agonist therapy is available in Bangladesh, but buprenorphine is not currently provided.
  • Bangladesh does not have opioid agonist therapy and needle syringe exchange interventions available in any prisons.

Harm reduction financing

  • Bangladesh has a strong history of working collaboratively with international donors, agencies and NGOs to establish and expand HIV and harm reduction services.
  • Since 2013, Bangladesh has received over US $100 million in funding for HIV services.
  • Identified funding for harm reduction in 2019 amounted to US$1.7 million, with the majority from the Global Fund and around 20% from domestic budgets going towards opioid agonist therapy.

Advocacy priorities for people who use drugs in Grant Cycle 7

  • Inclusive approaches to harm reduction, health and other services for people who use drugs
  • Funding for community-led advocacy
  • Accessible drug dependence treatment
  • Stigma-free healthcare services
  • Decriminalisation and the rights of people who use drugs

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