Community Action on Harm Reduction

© Frontline AIDS

CAHR existed to reach people who inject drugs with the services they need to reduce harm and HIV risk.

Community Action on Harm Reduction (CAHR) set out to reach more than 180,000 people who inject drugs with needle exchange programmes and other harm reduction services, and provide support to their partners, children and communities.

We believe people most affected by drug use and HIV are best placed to know what services they need; that’s why we involved people who use drugs in the design and delivery of services.

Services included needle and syringe exchanges, HIV prevention services, testing and treatment for HIV and other infections including TB, income-generating activities, skills building programmes, and support for the partners, children and communities of people who use drugs.

The project also had an advocacy angle to advance the human rights of people who use drugs. The project drew upon the experience in the Netherlands where harm reduction has proven to be a successful and cost-effective approach to HIV prevention.

CAHR was funded by Government of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs (BUZA). Technical expertise and global advocacy support was provided by a team of national and international partners: Alliance for Public Health in Ukraine, AIDS Foundation East West, Health Connections International, International Drug Policy Consortium, International Harm Reduction Association, International Network of Drug Users and Prevention Information et Lutte contre le Sida.

The work of CAHR now continues under the Integrated Harm Reduction Programme.


  • 264,342 people who use drugs and their sexual partners and family members were reached by CAHR.
  • We developed a CAHR website, which served as an information hub.
  • Research into the needs and barriers to treatment faced by women who use drugs found a vulnerability to sexual violence and therefore HIV.

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