News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Study shows lowest HIV rates ever among injecting drug users

Study shows lowest HIV rates ever among injecting drug users in New Zealand

New Zealand Needle Exchange media release, 22 July 2014

A recent study by the New Zealand Needle Exchange has revealed the HIV prevalence rate amongst injecting drug users in New Zealand to have fallen to just 0.2 percent; the lowest ever recorded in New Zealand and likely the lowest anywhere in the world.

“This is good news, not just for injecting drug users, but for the whole of society,” says NZ Needle Exchange Director Charles Henderson, speaking from the AIDS 2014 Conference, which kicked off this week in Melbourne.

“There may be six degrees of separation between any two people on the planet, but there’s only one degree of separation between you and the injecting drug user in your community. They may be a marginalised population but the fact that HIV has largely been prevented from spreading amongst injecting drug users has significant heath, economic and social benefits for all New Zealanders.”

Mr Henderson said the results show there needs to be more recognition, including from Government, about the vital role of the Needle Exchange Programme and its importance in reducing the overall harms of blood borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C among New Zealand communities.

“The progressive and early introduction of the needle exchange programme in New Zealand has meant the virus has been prevented from entering the injecting population, which has reduced its potential to spread more widely.

“Research in other regions where programmes providing sterile injection equipment and collection of used equipment don't exist show worryingly high rates of HIV among injecting drug users – as high as 50 percent in Russia,Africa, Asia and some states in the USA.”

The November 2013 Needle Exchange Programme research measured blood borne viruses among more than 700 people attending needle exchanges across the New Zealand. The ethically approved BBV Seroprevalence and Risk Analysis Study obtained blood samples and risk behaviour self-reports from attendees.

Research, including some by the Ministry of Health, indicates around one in every hundred New Zealanders is potentially injecting drugs, and may have done so during the last 12 months.

“It may not be something you see, but it’s out there and all around us,” Mr Henderson said.

“Continued investment and a scaling up of the programme will ensure the ongoing halt in the transmission of HIV. It will also protect recent gains made in reducing viral hepatitis (hepatitis B and C) and help make inroads towards reducing these diseases further – hepatitis C in particular.”

Find out more about the New Zealand Needle Exchange (including a short, informative video) at http://www.needle.co.nz/home_page.html/1.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Kakī: World’s Rarest Wading Bird Released In Mackenzie Basin

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says the birds will add to the 60 released into the Tasman valley earlier this month, significantly boosting the wild population. More>>

ALSO:

IHC Tribute: Colin Meads

"While Colin is best known for rugby, to us he is one of a small number of distinguished IHC New Zealand Life Members recognised for their significant support for people with intellectual disabilities," says IHC Chief Executive Ralph Jones. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: Tilting at Turbines - The Trip to Spain

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon have now both broken the Big Fifty barrier, which seems to have brought a whole new level of angst to their midlife adventures ... More>>

Review: A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell As Sweet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has accepted the challenge of this heart-touching tragedy and largely succeeded. More>>

ALSO:

NZ's First Male IAAF Gold: Tom Walsh's Historic Shot Put Victory

Although feeling very sore but with a great feeling Tom Walsh took his place as number one on the victory dais to receive his much deserved gold medal. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Q&A: Hard To Find Books

"Unfortunately we are in crisis and this friendly dinosaur faces extinction… Our only hope is to try and raise funds to buy the building and restore it to its glory, either fully funded or with a viable deposit." More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland