Belgium Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related infectious diseases

In 2017, seven newly diagnosed HIV cases linked to injecting drug use were reported, representing 1 % of new HIV cases with known transmission mode. The latest estimates on the prevalence of blood-borne viruses among people who inject drugs (PWID) are based on a small number of drug treatment centres in one region, with limited representativeness. To update these estimates, a seroprevalence study among PWID is being conducted in 2019.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Belgium (%)
  region HCV HIV
Data from 2014/15 (HIV) and from 2015/16 (HCV).
  National : :
  Sub-national 22.0 - 33.3 5.7 - 10.5

Studies indicate that some high-risk use patterns, such as the sharing of needles or syringes, as well as ‘slamming’ (or injecting drugs in a sexual context) among men who have sex with men, have been observed among specific subgroups of people who use drugs in Belgium.

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Methodological note: Analysis of trends is based only on those countries providing sufficient data to describe changes over the period specified. The reader should also be aware that monitoring patterns and trends in a hidden and stigmatised behaviour like drug use is both practically and methodologically challenging. For this reason, multiple sources of data are used for the purposes of analysis in this report. Caution is therefore required in interpretation, in particular when countries are compared on any single measure. Detailed information on methodology and caveats and comments on the limitations in the information set available can be found in the EMCDDA Statistical Bulletin.