AZ      EN

All names in the story have been changed to ensure anonymity
“My first “handshake” with drug happened in the early 90s when I was a 16 year old school graduate and it lasted more than 20 years,” – says Sarkhan, our hero who has been involved in Methadone and ARV treatment since 2010. He says he experienced a lot of difficulties that humiliated his dignity during this period. Prison life, distrust of and bad relations with relatives and friends due to the drug usage topped up by alcohol. “Though I was not blaming them for this negative attitude towards me it was so discouraging that I had nothing to do but return back to drugs and alcohol. But I am lucky that despite of my miserable condition in those days my wife did not quit supporting me hoping that one day I will be recovered.”
“In 2008 while serving my term in prison I learned that I am HIV infected. I felt depressed and wanted to die, but I had 2 daughters and my wife waiting for me. After release from prison 2008 my friends persuaded me to join the Methadone and ARV treatment programs. In 2010 I started the treatment within the program conducted by the “Struggle against AIDS” Public Union. I got a lot of psychological support from the staff of this organization and in 2012 I was proposed to join the organization as an outreach worker. I felt so encouraged by this promotion knowing that I can now help others to overcome drug usage and HIV challenges. It demonstrated that people believe in me and I can be useful for them. Since 2012 I have involved more than 100 drug users to the program and I keep working on this direction: talking to drug users, disseminating information about HIV/AIDS, consulting on ways of protection from this infection, explaining young people about the fatal consequences of drug usage.”
To my question whether he now feels necessity to use drugs, Sarkhan said he was so overloaded by the responsibilities of outreach worker and cares of his family that leaves no time to think about drugs.” Vasif, one of Sarkhan’s fellows involved in Methadone and ARV treatment also supported this approach: “I am completely overloaded by providing palliative care and there are so many people who need my help that I have no time to think about drugs.”
Sarkhan says that relatives of drug users may play a great role to save lives of their loved ones by demonstrating care and understanding, by looking for ways to help them. “Support of the family is the most important factor to overcome problems, particularly for drug users. The more relatives move away from their drug using relatives the more they push them into the jaws of drugs. If I did not have support of my wife who always believed in my recovery, even when I was in prison, I would probably never overcome drugs and restore my dignity and reputation among my friends and relatives.”