Formation of Positive Speaker Bureau (PSB) for reducing harm reduction strategies

Ajay Gurung (Community Support Group, Nepal). Poster presentation.

Objectives: A group of energetic ex-drug users and HIV Positive started a rehabilitation and care and support centre in Pokhara, in the western region of Nepal. There is an estimated 2,000 PLHA across the region and 5,500 injecting drug users (IDUs) in the city. The objective of this project is to build the capacity of IDUs living with HIV/AIDS and to mobilize them to dispel the myth related to HIV/AIDS and Substance abuse. Methods: Serene Foundation Drug Treatment; Rehabilitation Centre and Community Support Group (CSG) started a training of trainers (TOT) program among their members on Public Speaking for the formation of Positive Speaker Bureau (PSB) to diminish the myths and misconceptions in society at large. After two weeks of basic course including public speaking and advocacy for their rights; the groups went to communities where they talked on the difference between HIV and AIDS with the possibility of being free from drug addiction. They shared their experiences that how they could live positively without using drugs as well as being HIV positive. Results: After formation of PSB and sharing their experiences with the community, people started to accept ex-drug users and PLHA as responsible members of society. Recovering drug users and PLHA show their positive image to reduce stigma and discrimination towards them as they showed how a bad person (IDUs) became a responsible and accountable person in this society after getting drug free while society always ignored and isolated them as an outcast people. Conclusions: Our later results showed that the community members are interested in talking about drug addiction and its related harms, HIV/AIDS, prevention, intervention and wants to care and support positive people and IDUs.

CV: Ajay Gurund´s education is intermediate and currently he holds the post of Vice President of Community support Group Nepal. His working experience: A Comprehensive Package for IDUs, a joint program of Community Support Groups in Nepal and UNDP; Training/ Conference attended: 2001 – 8th BACNA International Recovering Convention, Khandala, Bombay, India; 2002 – Drug Treatment and AIDS Prevention Training (UNICEF) Pokhara, Nepal; 2004 National Leadership Training By and For Recovering Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) in Nepal (Policy Project Nepal) Pokhara, Nepal and Advocacy for Change (Policy Project Nepal) Pokhara, Nepal; 2005 1st Drug Abuse and Drug Lead HIV Conference at Kathmandu, Nepal and The first Asian Consultation on the Prevention of HIV related to Drug use January 2008, Goa, India; 2008: People Living with HIV/AIDS Collaborative Fund Technical Review meeting, Somerset Lake Point, Sukhumvit 16, Sukhumit, Bangkok-Thailand; 2009: IHRA’s 20th Harm Reduction International Conference at Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel, Sukhumit Road, Bangkok - Thailand; 2009: IHRA, One Day Harm Reduction Workshop at Hotel Royal, 36 Newton Road, Singapore; 2010, 21st International Harm Reduction Conference Liverpool, UK.