This report documents the good practices in harm reduction programmes in Malaysia and the progress to date in addressing the transmission of HIV among people who use drugs. It highlights and discusses how policies and programmes have addressed this through strong and committed leadership, community participation, sustained partnerships, and multisectoral collaboration and coordination.
From a repressive and punitive approach to drugs and HIV, Malaysia’s efforts to scale down compulsory drug treatment and develop comprehensive harm reduction services are indeed elements of good practice that deserve to be documented and shared. The endorsement of harm reduction by supportive and committed leadership at the highest levels has been the key element responsible for the success of the programme. Effective and evidence-based harm reduction interventions, such as needle and syringe programmes, methadone maintenance therapy and provision of antiretroviral therapy, have been systematically expanded and integrated into public health services. While challenges remain, the consistent evolution of and progress in the national response to HIV and drugs has been encouraging and successfully mobilized large numbers of dedicated and committed individuals and groups.
The experiences and good practices described in this document will be useful for countries, partners and stakeholders who wish to replicate Malaysia’s efforts at providing and scaling up harm reduction services.