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Drug Users Oppose

Nagaland Post
03 June 2010
Dimapur, India

North east India drug users’ forum (NEIDUF), Nagaland drug users’ network (NUN) and network of people living With HIV (NNP+) have opposed the move by "Project ORCHID " to conduct 100% HIV testing in its targeted intervention projects.

Condemning the decision on mandatory testing, NEIDUF (interim body) president Abou Mere, NUN general secretary Ruokozo Theyo and NNP+ general secretary Lanu, in a joint note, said it was human rights violation, and added that though they might be drug users they have their own fundamental rights. "…we are not guinea pigs just because we use drugs or availing Drop–In Centre services, " the signatories retorted.

Pointing out if active users, who are in need of service, did not turn up for services and get infected, they said Project ORCHID should be held responsible.

Also, the bodies accused Project ORCHID of overruling state authorities including state government, State SACS and state executive committee for HIV and AIDS programmes, which, they said guide the state. "Who are they to enforce this into our state? " they further queried, and stated that even NACO or AVAHAN do not have the right.

Referring to union government’s comprehensive HIV testing policy, the signatories pointed out "No individual should be made to undergo a mandatory testing for HIV. No mandatory HIV testing should be imposed as a precondition for employment or for providing health care facilities during employment. " Meanwhile, they have requested the state government to take action.

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