SANPUD team was busy at work during the site visit
Ahead of our impactful service provision in 2024, the South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD) embarked on a critical site visit aimed at refining and advancing our strategies and services. This deep dive was a necessary pause to reflect, reevaluate, and recharge our efforts towards supporting the community of people who use drugs in South Africa. Through this introspective approach, we not only guarantee relevant support but also foster solid partnerships with other networks and service providers, creating a comprehensive support framework.
We all know that #kedesembaboss means that throughout the country, more people are going to participate in nightlife, festivals, and day-party scenes. Bars, lounges, clubs, and festivals are a key part of the social and cultural fabric of everyday life. Music, dancing, and socialising and, to varying degrees, the consumption of alcohol and other drugs are all part of these scenes. While designed to provide entertainment and enjoyment, inevitably, they are not always free from harm.
New surroundings and excitement can lead to people experimenting with new ways to heighten their pleasure; in certain instances, these can include the use of drugs.
Charne Roberts, the Advocacy and Engagement Officer of the South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD), delves into the human rights violations experienced by women who use drugs. She highlights the urgent need for decriminalisation to empower these women and end gender-based violence. By exploring practical ways to involve these women in policy design, Roberts calls for policies that put people first and bring us closer to ending gender-based violence.
Decriminalising drugs provides an opportunity to address drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal one, and by shifting the focus from punishment to support, we can create an environment where individuals are likely to seek help, treatment, and harm reduction services without fear of legal repercussions.
In June 2021, Member States at the United Nations High-Level Meeting (HLM) on HIV and AIDS adopted a Political Declaration to end inequalities and get on track to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
The amazing Global Drug Survey - which, for 10 years has gathered data from survey participants in order to create a realistic picture of drug use the world over - has been launched for 2022! And, whilst the global North is well-represented, data from African nations is patchy at best - but we can change that.
On 7 December, the Love Alliance launched its Global Advocacy Strategy for 2022 to 2025 Speak out for Health and Rights during the International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA).
As the 21st International Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) in Durban, South Africa comes to an end, so those key populations throughout the continent that are most affected by the policies and funding directed towards the eradication of HIV/AIDS by 2030 have come together on the sidelines of ICASA2021 to draft and sign the Durban Declaration.
Love Alliance is committed to protecting, promoting, and fulfilling SRHR globally. Our five-year programme aims to achieve a significant reduction in HIV incidence by influencing policies, organising communities, and raising awareness on rights and health in Morocco, Egypt, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and South Africa. The Love Alliance occupies a critical space in promoting SRHR by unifying marginalized populations in a strong pan-African activist movement, led by young people, and bringing local voices to a global audience to influence decisions that affect their rights, health, and lives.