UNODC updates global estimates on injecting drug use and HIV among people who inject drugs
Vienna, 28 June 2013 - Injecting drug use continues to drive the expansion of the HIV epidemic in many countries around the world. In 2013, UNODC estimates that there are 14.0 million (range: 11.2 million to 22.0 million) people who inject drugs worldwide, and of these, 1.6 million (range: 1.2 million to 3.9 million) are living with HIV, representing a global prevalence of HIV of 11.5 per cent among people who inject drugs.
The new global estimates on both injecting drug use and HIV among people who inject drugs are lower than the previous global estimates reported in 2008 by Mathers et al. However, the lower estimates do not represent a decrease in the epidemic, but an improved availability of more reliable data, which allows for setting a new baseline for global estimates on injecting drug use and HIV among people who inject drugs.
To a large extent the changes reported since the previous national, regional and global estimates on injecting drug use and HIV among people who inject drugs are due to improvements in the estimation methods applied and increased global coverage of bio-behavioral surveillance and special surveys among people who inject drugs. In some countries, the changes in estimates of number of people who inject drugs can be explained by changes in drug use patterns for example from injection to other routes of administration. The new estimates have been rigorously validated and they are going to be annually updated.
Countries where the estimated number of people who inject drugs was higher than previously reported include, for example, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and Viet Nam, while countries with lower estimates in injecting drug use include, for example, Brazil, Indonesia, South Africa, Thailand and the United States.
However, in several large population size countries, for example in Brazil, Russian Federation, China, Ukraine, Thailand, Indonesia and the United States, the estimated number of people who inject drugs, who are also living with HIV was notably lower than the previous estimate.
Still, in many countries, the existing data on injecting drug use and HIV among people who inject drugs are far from adequate. Intensified efforts and particularly domestic investments in monitoring and research among this key population are urgently required.
Access to UNODC's World Drug Report 2013 and related documents:
Full World Drug Report 2013 ( English)
World Drug Report 2013 website ( English)
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