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Women Affected Hardest by Mix of Drugs, HIV and Prostitution

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Liza and Vitya shoot up heroin at home. Liza shares a room with HIV positive tattoo artist and heroin addict Vitya.

When it comes to populations affected by drugs in Central Asia, and in particular the southwestern Kyrgyz city of Osh, women drug users have long sat at the bottom of the priority list. Despite the attention and funding given to the topic of drugs in the region, much of the focus is on big-picture issues such as the eradication of heroin production and trafficking. Those programs that do exist to help drug users themselves, such as needle exchange or drug treatment, are predominantly used by men.

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Rena Effendi is a freelance photojournalist based in Baku.

Women Affected Hardest by Mix of Drugs, HIV and Prostitution

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