Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey: National Data Report 2012 – 2016

The Kirby Institute, UNSW, May 2017

The Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (ANSPS) provides serial point prevalence estimates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibodies and sexual and injecting risk behaviour among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Australia.
Conducted annually over a one-two week period in October, all clients attending participating needle and syringe program (NSP) services are invited to complete a brief, anonymous questionnaire and to provide a capillary blood sample for HIV and HCV antibody testing.
This report presents national and state/territory data for the period 2012 to 2016.

Key findings:

  • In 2016, 50 Australian Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) participated in the ANSPS and 2,210 NSP attendees completed the survey. The response rate was 41%.
  • Over the period 2012 to 2016, the median age of survey respondents increased from 38 years to 42 years, with a concurrent decrease in the proportion of young injectors (aged <25 years) from 7% in 2012 to 4% in 2016.
  • HIV antibody prevalence remained low and stable nationally, ranging from 1.2% to 2.1% over the period 2012 to 2016
  • Hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody prevalence was stable over the period 2012 to 2016, ranging from 51% to 57%.
  • Nationally, the proportion of respondents who reported recent (last 12 months) initiation of HCV treatment was low and stable at 1-3% between 2011-2015, but increased significantly to 22% in 2016, with substantial increases observed in all jurisdictions.

Download Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey: National Data Report 2012 – 2016 (PDF) 

Study suggests drug criminalization undermining global HIV/AIDS efforts

Medical News Today, May 2017

The criminalization of drugs is a leading factor in the world’s HIV epidemic and a potential barrier to eradicating HIV/AIDS, say researchers who’ve undertaken a sweeping review of research on laws and policies prohibiting drug use. Assistant professor Kora DeBeck of SFU’s School of Public Policy, who is a research scientist with the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, is co-lead of the study, published in The Lancet.

 

Hepatitis C treatment can be provided successfully at syringe programme sites

infohep.org, 18 April 2017

Administering direct-acting antiviral therapy for people who inject drugs at a syringe exchange site led to high sustained response rates in a pilot study in New York City. Expanding treatment for this population could reduce hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission and ultimately help eliminate hepatitis C as a public health threat.

AMA calls for needle and syringe programs (NSPs) to be introduced in prisons

Australian Medical Association, January 9th 2017

The AMA has called for needle and syringe programs (NSPs) to be introduced in prisons and other custodial settings, to reduce the spread of Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) including hepatitis B and C, and HIV.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, said today that prevalence of BBVs is significantly higher in prisons, yet custodial facilities provide a unique opportunity to protect the health of inmates.

A new AMA position statement also warns against making transmission of a BBV a crime, and calls for specific resourcing and management of HLTV-1, a relatively unknown BBV that affects Aboriginal people in central Australia.

Read more here

Annual Report of Trends in Behaviour: Viral hepatitis

UNSW Centre for Social Research in Health, October 2016

The Annual Report of Trends in Behaviour presents data from a selection of the behavioural and social research conducted by the Centre for Social Research in Health. The report focuses in particular on studies assessing trends over time or addressing emerging issues.

The Viral Hepatitis Supplement covers a few key issues which stand out  in relation to viral hepatitis.

 

 

Prisons need better drug treatment programs to control infectious diseases

The Conversation, July 15, 2016 10.56am AEST

Worldwide, around 30 million people enter and leave prison each year. Of these people, around 4.5 million have hepatitis C, almost 1 million have HIV and 1.5 million have hepatitis B infections.

In many countries, prisons are underfunded and overcrowded, and injecting drug use is common. Those who enter prison uninfected are at risk of becoming infected, as few countries provide the range of prevention programs required to halt transmission inside.

Once detained, prisoners are often denied access to life-saving treatment for these infections.

  • Read more here
  • Read HIV, prisoners, and human rights from The Lancet here