HIV prevalence stable among UK injecting drug users

HIV rates rising amoung newer injection drug addicts who utilize needle exchange in the U.K.; Almost half infected with hepatitis C and many still sharing needles.
Needle exchange was first introduced in the United Kingdom (UK) in 1985 in response to the AIDS epidemic.  Most areas within the UK have pharmacy-based needle-exchange programs (NEPs).  Mobile, agency-based and automated needle exchange programs also exist.Despite this widespread availability of free needles, HIV infection among newer UK injection drug users (IDUs) is rising, according to the Health Protection Agency.  The data comes from samples taken of addicts who accessed services provided by NEPs and methadone treatment programs.

The new report also found that around one quarter of IDUs reported sharing of needles and syringes and almost half have been infected with hepatitis C, with one fifth becoming infected within three years of starting to inject.

Source:  ‘Shooting Up’, Health Protection Agency  October 2008

 

Filed under: HIV/Injecting-Drug-Users :

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