The French National AIDS Council has taken note of several expert papers recently published in France about risk reduction and HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis B and C transmission among drug users. These include the one published by INSERM (1) last July and the analysis and recommendations regarding supervised drug consumption facilities and harm reduction in drug users being presented this week by “Elus, santé publique et territoires”, an independent group of local councillors. In addition, a parliamentary information commission has recently been set up.

The National AIDS Council has, in several previous reviews (2), stressed that the policies implemented in France are not adapted to the difficulties faced by drug users, especially regarding the transmission of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis. In a solemn declaration, known as the Vienna Declaration (3), adopted in July 2010 during the 18th International AIDS Conference in Vienna (Austria), key researchers have alerted governments and the public opinion on the risk of a growing epidemic among drug users in several regions of the world and highlighted the obvious failure of repressive policies.

In France, a law relative to health measures against drug addiction and suppression of traffic and illicit usage of drugs was adopted on December 31th, 1970. Considering the current challenges, the fortieth anniversary of this law provides an opportunity for the National AIDS Council to contribute to the current debate on its implementation and further evolution.

In November 2010, the National AIDS Council will organise a working party with representatives of the various public authorities involved, such as delegates from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, representatives of the MILDT (4) – a governmental commission for the fight against drug abuse and dependence, members of expert groups and relevant researchers, as well as representatives of consumer groups and organisations committed to harm reduction and to the fight against HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis.

1: INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale) :Réduction des risques chez les usagers de drogue, 2010.

2: Conseil national du sida : The French National AIDS Council declares itself in favour of changes in policy on drug use, 2001 ; Les risques liés aux usages de drogues comme enjeu de santé publique. Propositions pour une reformulation du cadre législatif, 2001.


4: MILDT (Mission interministérielle de lutte contre la drogue et la toxicomanie / Interministerial mission in the fight against drugs and drug addiction),

Contact Laurent Geffroy : +33 1 40 56 68 58 / +33 6 85 72 52 82