HIV and Injection Drug Use

HIV and Injection Drug Use

Syringe Services Programs for HIV Prevention

Updated July 28, 2017

Changes in who is starting to inject drugs

The percent of new PWID by race has changed over time, suggesting fewer blacks, and more whites, are starting to inject drugs.

2005 2009 2012 2015
White 38% 44% 44% 54%
Hispanic/Latino 19% 21% 21% 21%
Black 38% 29% 28% 19%

SOURCE: CDC’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance data, 2005-2015

Arrow Graphic

Heroin use has increased more than 60% (114% in whites) in recent years. The heroin and prescription opioid epidemics could lead to new HIV outbreaks.

SOURCE: National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002-2013

Syringe Services Programs: More than Just Needle Exchange

An SSP is a community-based program that ideally provides comprehensive services:

  • free sterile needles and syringes
  • safe disposal of needles and syringes
  • referral to mental health services and substance use disorder treatment, including medication-assisted treatment
  • HIV and hepatitis testing and linkage to treatment
  • other tools to prevent HIV and hepatitis, including counseling, condoms, and PrEP (a medicine to prevent HIV)
  • hepatitis A and B vaccination
  • overdose treatment and education

SSPs don’t increase illegal drug use or crime but do reduce HIV risk.

Syringe services programs: Find an SSP:

HIV diagnoses are down among PWID. More access to SSPs could help reduce HIV further.

SOURCE: Vital Signs, December 2016