People who inject drugs (PWID) are disproportionately affected by blood-borne infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. They are also at an increased risk of fatal overdose.
The number of people who inject drugs worldwide is estimated at 11.3 million in 2017. Roughly one in eight people who inject drugs lives with HIV, amounting to 1.4 million people. UNAIDS estimates that the risk of HIV acquisition among people who inject drugs is 22 higher likely than the general population.
Hepatitis C is highly prevalent among PWID, with almost 5.6 million people living with hepatitis C.
For PWID living with HIV, co-infection with hepatitis C is highly prevalent, estimated at 82.4 percent.
Among global populations of people in prison the prevalence of HIV is 3.8 percent, and depending on the country, can be up to 50 percent higher than the prevalence of HIV infection in the general population.
The global prevalence of hepatitis B in prison is 15.1 percent, chronic HBV infection is 4.8 percent and active tuberculosis rates are at 2.8 percent in prisons globally. The prevalence of these infections in the population of people in prison is also higher than in the general population, due to the criminalization of drug use.
As co-sponsor of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), UNODCs global HIV programme supports countries to achieve universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support among people who use drugs and for comprehensive HIV services for people in prisons.
Our work is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular SDG 3 and its target 3.3 to end AIDS by 2030 and the UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy 2016-2021 which calls for 90 percent of people who inject drugs and people in prisons to have access to HIV combination prevention services.
UNODC HIV work is guided by specific declarations, resolutions and decisions adopted by United Nations General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board. Our work is aligned with the UNODC Strategic Framework 2018-2019, UNAIDS Fast-Track Strategy 2016-2021 as well as new commitments and mandates to support Member States including the April 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem Outcome Document
and the Ministerial Declaration 2019