3 July 2023

Harm Reduction Information Note – Mauritius

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Harm Reduction Country Information Note - Mauritius

This harm reduction information note has been compiled by Harm Reduction International (HRI) in collaboration with Collectif Urgence Toxida (CUT) to support Global Fund Grant Cycle 7 processes. It compiles key data and evidence related to HIV and people who use and inject drugs, harm reduction services and funding, as well as community advocacy priorities. It was developed for use during the Global Fund funding request development process grant making and implementation.

Epidemiological context

  • There are an estimated 14,000 people living with HIV and an estimated 12,000 people who inject drugs in Mauritius.
  • HIV prevalence among key populations is considerably higher than within the general population. It is reported to be 32.3% among people who inject drugs, 28.4% among transgender people, and 17.3% among prisoners.
  • Hepatitis C prevalence is estimated to be 90% among people who inject drugs and Hepatitis B prevalence is estimated to be 3.5%.

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

  • HIV testing and status awareness is reported to be 40% among people who inject drugs and 80% among people in prisons.
  • Only 52% of people who inject drugs that had tested positive for HIV were receiving ART by the end of 2022, while even within closed settings such as prisons, only 4 out of 5 people (82%) were receiving ART.
  • In 2018, coverage of opioid agonist treatment (OAT) among people who inject drugs was reported to be 53.6%
  • Needle and syringe programmes are operational but coverage data is not available

Harm reduction financing

  • Mauritius has shown a strong commitment to funding HIV and harm reduction programmes domestically and has worked with international donors to introduce and expand programming.
  • A social contracting scheme channels funding to community-led and civil society organisations and Mauritius has also adopted free health care to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). However, both social contracting and free health care should explicitly include people living with HIV and key populations.
  • Funding for harm reduction must continue through transition and be increased to address current challenges, including stigma and discrimination.

Advocacy priorities for people who use drugs in Grant Cycle 7

  • Harm reduction services in prisons to be made accessible and developed for people in prisons who use drugs, including a focus on programmes for women and mothers who use drugs
  • Capacity building for community-led advocacy
  • Providing for a wider array of opioid agonist therapies (beyond methadone and buprenorphine) to further a client-centred approach
  • For the transition period and beyond, a multi-sectoral platform that monitors and responds to needs and capacity gaps among networks of people who use drugs
  • Human right protections for women and mothers who use drugs, particularly in relation to contact with child protection services and security services. Advocacy for improvements to these services and capacity building and harm reduction sensitisation among security officers
  • Removal of legal barriers, including the inclusion of charges such as possession of small amounts of drugs on certificates of character
  • Peer distribution of naloxone among people who use drugs, peer educators and via civil society organisations

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