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Home Publications Infectious diseases Bloodborne infections Shooting Up ›  Shooting up: Infections among injecting drug users in the UK 2009. An update: November 2010

Shooting up: Infections among injecting drug users in the UK 2009. An update: November 2010

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Authors:

Health Protection Agency

Publication date: November 2010

 

Synopsis

  1. Needle and syringe sharing has declined in recent years, but almost one-fifth of injecting drug users continue to share.
  2. Infections are common among injecting drug users. Around one-half of injecting drug users have been infected with hepatitis C, one-sixth with hepatitis B, and about one-third reported a symptom of a bacterial infection (such as a sore or abscess) at an injecting site in the past year.
  3. The prevalence of HIV among those who have injected drugs remains low and is estimated to be 1.5% overall in the UK. However, it varies across the country from 0.6% in Scotland to 4.1% in London.
  4. The prevalence of HIV among current injectors has increased from 0.7% to 1.5% over the past decade, and is now similar to the level found in the early 1990’s.
  5. The uptake of HIV testing is improving, with three-quarters of injecting drug users now reporting that they have had a test; however, almost a third of injecting drug users with HIV remain unaware of their infection.
  6. The vast majority of HIV-infected injecting drug users in contact with specialist HIV treatment services are receiving antiretroviral therapy.

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Additional information

Injecting Drug Users page

Last reviewed: 13 January 2012