I want to be a role model
November 2006; Full of life, young and beautiful 15 year old Deepa Thapa did not know when she fell into the habit of drugs, until she became very ill and mustered courage
to tell her family that she wanted to get out of this vicious trap.
'I started taking tobacco for fun with friends and gradually I started taking other drugs'.I became an injecting drug user,' says Deepa. She believes that
boredom, lack of family support and bad influence can lead a person to become a drug user.
Deepa, now 23 and married is a day care taker at a rehabilitation centre in Kathmandu. She is a role model for other women who want to lead a normal life.
Two years back she recovered from the same rehabilitation centre and promised herself that she would be working to help those women who wanted to get out of
drugs. 'It was not easy for me to recover', she recalls, 'I relapsed in between but finally won the battle'. She is celebrating her 'recovering birthday' in
January and so do the others who complete their one year recovery period at the rehabilitation centre.
Sharada is no exception; she has been coming to the Drop-in Centre since 3 months with her 3 years' old baby. There are other females who are willing to lead
a normal life after being discarded by family and society. They are in need of greater care and support.
Injecting Drug Users (IDUs) constitute the population sub-group in which HIV threatens to rise most rapidly. Behavioural research among IDUs in Nepal clearly
indicates that needle sharing, the major risk factor for HIV, is common. Studies have shown that HIV prevalence among IDUs is high.
UNDP has been supporting Male and Female Drop-in Centres where people who are willing to give up drugs and lead normal lives get primary health care
services, counselling and referrals. Similarly, an NGO, 'Sparsha-Nepal' through the support of UNDP has been providing crisis care and primary health care
services to IDUs through mobile health centres and clinics.
UNDP through various NGOs supports outreach activities for harm reduction service such as building rapport with the client, identifying spots for needles and
syringe exchange, distribution of condoms, undertaking home visit for those who can not come to the drop-in centre and undertaking regular follow-ups.
The UNDP HIV/AIDS Programme Management Unit is implementing these activities from the National HIV/AIDS Plan 2005 -2006 and is directly contributing to the
achievement of the national goals. In total 119 projects are implemented in 27 districts through 77 Non Governmental Organisations.
Nepal is facing rapid increase in HIV/AIDS prevalence among high risk groups. The first case of AIDS in Nepal was reported in 1988. By July 2006, more than
1115 cases of full-blown AIDS and over 7373 cases of HIV infection were reported officially(source: National Centre for Aids and STD control). However, due
to the limitations of the surveillance system, the actual number of infected people in Nepal is expected to be much higher. According to the Global AIDS
Epidemic report 2006, it is estimated around 75000 people living with HIV/AIDS in Nepal.