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Blood borne viruses and needle and syringe provision


UKHRA has mailed a copy of an important recent paper published in the British Medical Journal: 'Incidence of hepatitis C virus and HIV among new injecting drug users in London: prospective cohort study' to over 3000 agencies throughout the UK.

This paper, particularly when taken alongside other recent publications (full references for which are given below), gives cause for grave concern about the spread of blood-borne viral infections among young injectors in the UK. UKHRA is therefore circulating this paper as widely as possible to those who influence the planning and delivery of drug treatment in the UK.

We believe that urgent responses are required to make injecting equipment much more widely available, in adequate quantities across the whole of the UK. Including increased:

  • Outlets for pharmacy provision;
  • Outlets for centre based needle and syringe provision;
  • Numbers of needles and syringes given out per visit; and
  • Information and advice based on sound understandings of the realities of injecting drug use.

To download and view the paper (as a pdf file), click here


Other relevant recent reading includes:


'Shooting up' Infections among injecting drug users in the UK 2002.
An update: December 2003.
Health Protection Agency.
This report can be downloaded in full from here


Injecting drug use in Brighton, Liverpool and London: best estimates of
prevalence and coverage of public health indicators.
Hickman M, Higgins V, Hope V, et al. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 58(9):766-771. 2004


Hepatitis C and its risk management among injectors in London: renewing harm reduction in the context of uncertainty.
Rhodes T, Davis M, Judd A. Addiction, 99:621-633. 2004


Risk behaviours among injecting drug users in Northern Ireland.
McElrath K. Substance Use and Misuse 36(14):2137-57. 2001


Prevalence of hepatitis C virus infection among injecting drug users in
Glasgow 1990-1996: are current harm reduction strategies working?

Taylor A, Goldberg D, Hutchison S, et al. Journal of Infection. 2000.




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