People who use drugs have multiple vulnerabilities to HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis and other infectious diseases.
More than 11 million people inject drugs
1.4 million are living with HIV
5.5 million are living with hepatitis C
1.2 million are living with both HIV and hepatitis C
The WHO/ UNODC/UNAIDS Technical Guide to reduce HIV infection among people who inject drugs (PWID) sets out nine interventions proven effective in reducing HIV transmission among this population. Universal access to the comprehensive package of nine interventions is a priority. Of these nine, the first four have been identified as the most effective in reducing the spread of HIV: when delivered at scale the four can contain and reverse the upward trend of HIV epidemics among PWID.
WHO has also recommended opioid overdose management with community distribution of naloxone for overdose prevention. Opioid overdose is both preventable and, if witnessed, treatable (Consolidated Guidelines on HIV Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment and Care for Key Populations, WHO 2016).
In most countries, coverage of HIV prevention services for people who inject drugs is too low to have an impact on the HIV epidemic.
Less than 1% of all PWID live in countries with high coverage of both needle and syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapy
Only 33 needles/syringes are provided per PWID per year – compared to the high coverage target of >200
Only 16% PWID are receiving OST – compared to the high coverage target of >40%