Welcome to Joint Action Policy Day 2019 

UNITE is delighted to welcome you to a Call to Action for HCV, HIV and TB Elimination among People Who Use Drugs 

Road to 2030: Concrete Actions to Scale up Human Rights-based approaches to Harm Reduction
April 27th, 2019, Santa Casa da Misericórdia Auditory  (Rua Joaquim Vasconcelos, 79, 4050-311 Porto, Portugal)


Together with

Meeting Supporters & Partners

  1. Joint Action Policy Day History

Concerned with the global threat of infectious diseases, UNITE and INHSU organized a Joint Action Policy Day in September 2018, entitled “Joint Action Policy Day – Expanding best practices and policies to enhance drug user health and hepatitis C care globally: What actions are required?”. Having gathered parliamentarians, policy makers, researchers, clinicians, and community members from all regions of the globe, the event culminated with the milestone signature of a Global Declaration striving towards the elimination HCV infections on people injecting drugs by 2030:

Based on 2018 Policy Day success, UNITE is organizing a Joint Action Policy Day 2019 in April 2019, which will unite multiple global stakeholders to discuss and take action on the role of harm reduction strategies in decreasing the burden of Hepatitis C, HIV and Tuberculosis, and improve life and wellbeing of drug users in line with the Sustainable Development Goals 3. Standing on the Portuguese model of harm reduction, which was boosted by a successful decriminalization policy measure, participants will discuss challenges and opportunities to implement and scale up sustainable harm reduction services that serve as a vehicle to the elimination of infectious diseases by 2030.

  1. Joint Action Policy Day Background

Eleven years to reach 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, infectious diseases are still a serious health threat worldwide. Global estimates indicate that 71.1 million people are living with chronic hepatitis C (1), 36.9 million people are living with HIV/AIDS (2), and 10 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis (3). Higher mortalities and transmission rates are concentrated among key subpopulations such as drug users and drug injectors who, despite perpetuating risky drug usage behaviour, lack basic rights to access health care in many geographical settings  (4–7).

Harm reduction strategies – like needle and syringe programmes (NSP) to limit the usage of use of injecting equipment, opioid substitution therapy (OST) to reduce the opioid injecting, HIV and HCV testing, counselling, HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART), condom distribution to prevent viral transmission to sexual partners (8) – are proven to be cost effective at reducing negative consequences associated with the use of drugs in people unable or unwilling to stop (9). Notwithstanding, harm reduction exists at some level in only half of total countries in the world (4), and its implementation falls far short of reaching most people in need, particularly drug users, homeless and prisoners, who frequently see their health-related human rights violated (10).


  1. To contribute to scale up good practices on human rights-based harm reduction services 
  2. To promote Universal Health Coverage, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines for all 
  3. To support community empowerment and drive policy changes to enhance harm reduction services 
  4. To monitor the progress and actions started since the last Joint Action Policy Day


Recommendations for policymakers and other stakeholders with the concrete actions needed locally and globally to scale up harm reduction services needed for ID’s elimination. These recommendations will be published in national and international media and social media platforms with high impact.

Steering committee

  1. Jason Grebely (INHSU) 
  2. Ricardo Baptista Leite (UNITE) 
  3. Jeffrey Lazarus (ISGlobal) 
  4. Michel Kazatchkine (Global Commission on Drug Policy) 
  5. Nikos Dedes (EATG) 
  6. Naomi Burke-Shyne (HRI) 
  7. Annete Verster (WHO) 
  8. Céline Grillon (MdM) 
  9. Daniel Wolfe (OSF) 
  10. Graham Brown (LaTrobe University)

Programme Advisors 

  1. Rui Tato Marinho (CHLN, FML) 
  2. João Goulão (SICAD) 
  3. Luis Mendão (GAT) 
  4. José Queiroz (APDES) 
  5. Guilherme Macedo (CHSJ) 
  6. Francisco Pavão (UNITE) 
  7. Bangyuan Wang (HIV Technical)


1. Blach S, Zeuzem S, Manns M, Altraif I, Duberg AS, Muljono DH, et al. Global prevalence and genotype distribution of hepatitis C virus infection in 2015: a modelling study. Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2017;2(3):161–76. 2. UNAIDS. Global HIV & AIDS statistics [Internet]. 2018. Available from: 3. WHO. Tuberculosis [Internet]. 2018. Available from: 4. Stone K, Shirley-Beavan S. The Global State of Harm Reduction 2018 [Internet]. London; 2018. Available from: 5. Csete J, Kamarulzaman A, Kazatchkine M, Altice F, Balicki M, Buxton J, et al. Public health and international drug policy. Lancet. 2016;387(10026):1427–80. 6. Grebely J, Bruneau J, Lazarus J V., Dalgard O, Bruggmann P, Treloar C, et al. Research priorities to achieve universal access to hepatitis C prevention, management and direct-acting antiviral treatment among people who inject drugs. Int J Drug Policy [Internet]. 2017;47:51–60. Available from: 7. Sander G. HIV, HCV, TB and Harm Reduction in Prisons Human Rights, Minimum Standards and Monitoring at the European and International Levels [Internet]. London: Harm Reduction International; 2016. Available from: 8. Degenhardt L, Peacock A, Colledge S, Leung J, Grebely J, Vickerman P, et al. Global prevalence of injecting drug use and sociodemographic characteristics and prevalence of HIV, HBV, and HCV in people who inject drugs: a multistage systematic review. Lancet Glob Heal. 2017;5(12):e1192–207. 9. International Harm Reduction Association. What is harm reduction? A position statement from the International Harm Reduction Association. London; 2010. 10. International Harm Reduction. The Global State of Harm Reduction [Internet]. Harm Reduction International. 2016. Available from: