Injecting drug use

Globally, around 16 million people inject drugs and 3 million of them are living with HIV. On average, one out of every ten new HIV infections is caused by injecting drug use and in parts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia over 80 per cent of all HIV infections is related to drug use.

WHO strongly supports harm reduction as an evidence-based approach to HIV prevention, treatment and care for people who inject drug and defined a comprehensive package, in particular needle and syringe programmes and opioids substitution therapy which includes:

  • needle and syringe programmes
  • drug dependence treatment - in particular opioid substitution therapy
  • HIV testing and counselling
  • HIV treatment and care
  • Information, education and risk reduction counseling
  • Condom distribution and STI management
  • Management of TB and viral hepatitis.

WHO works closely with UNODC, UNAIDS and other stakeholders including civil society to advocate for the implementation of these interventions.