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Shooting Up

Shooting up is an excellent report from the Health Protection Agency providing a good overview of the problem of viral transmission amongst injecting drug userse, and sensible recommendations for commissioning services to prevent the spread of blood borne viruses.

To download a pdf file of the report, click here.

Key Points from the report

1. Overall more than two in five injectors have been infected with hepatitis C, and in Glasgow the estimated incidence of hepatitis C infection among recent initiates to injecting is approximately 30% per year. In England and Wales data indicate that hepatitis C transmission among injectors has increased recently, and in 2002 one in seven of those who had started to inject since the beginning of 2000 had been infected.
2. Hepatitis C infection will continue to place a growing demand on the NHS. By the end of 2002 there had been around 50,000 reported laboratory diagnoses of hepatitis C in the United Kingdom, with the majority of these reports associated with injecting drug use. However, of those injectors with hepatitis C almost three-fifths still remain unaware of their infection.
3. Transmission of hepatitis B continues among injectors even though there is an effective vaccine. Although the proportion of injectors vaccinated in England & Wales has increased in recent years many still remain unvaccinated.
4. Overall HIV infection remains rare among injectors in the United Kingdom, however there is evidence of ongoing transmission. The prevalence of HIV among injectors has remained substantially higher in London than the rest of the country.

Hepatitis A outbreaks have been increasingly associated with injecting drug use in recent years, and in 2002 there was an outbreak of wound botulism among injectors. These outbreaks are a reminder that injectors are at increased risk of a wide range of infections.

6. Needle and syringe sharing increased in the late 1990s, and since then has been stable with around one in three injectors reporting this activity in the last month.

Taken from the HPA website. To go to the HPA site, click here


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