In the slums of Bangladesh's capital, drug use is fuelling a new crisis. Most of Dhaka's drug users are young, homeless and unemployed. Bangladesh is one of the world's poorest countries, with 60 million people living below the poverty line. For those struggling to survive in its capital, life can seem devoid of hope
While Bangladesh still has a low HIV prevalence in the general population, with less than 0.1% of the population living with the virus, among injecting drug users it is spreading at a worrying rate
The low prevalence of HIV in Bangladesh means there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about the virus. Stigma and discrimination are rife
In Dhaka, where most of Bangladesh's 23,000 injecting drug users live, 7% of them are HIV positive. In one neighbourhood, where the largest concentration of injecting drug users live, 11% are infected
Mozibor Begum was a heroin addict for eight years. He started injecting drugs as a young man, when his parents arranged a marriage for him. He did not want to get married and felt out of control. After the marriage, heroin became a way to escape the life that had been forced upon him
Begum injected heroin every day. Like so many drug users he shared needles. "There were so many reasons for this," he says. "Sometimes there was a fear of the police, so we had to do it quickly, sometimes I didn't have enough money so I'd buy a hit with other people. Often we just had one needle." In 2004 he discovered he was HIV positive. He became depressed. "I had no hope," he says. "My family presumed I wouldn't live for long. I'm not sure they cared. I took money from my mother and was not a good husband to my wife."
To be continued.....