Germany Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Germany, data on drug-related infectious diseases are available from the registers at the Robert Koch Institute, which are complemented by data from other, usually regional, sources.

The number of new cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection attributable to injecting drug use showed downward trend between 2000 and 2009, then stabilised between 2010 and 2012. Since then, an increase has been reported. Around 5 % of new cases of HIV infection are linked to injecting drug use in Germany. A cluster of cases of HIV infection in Bavaria (2016) has been associated with the use of synthetic cathinones.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Germany (%)
  Region HCV HIV
Data from 2011/14.
National : :
Sub-national 36.9 - 73.0 0.0 - 9.1

Reliable information on the mode of transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) was available for only a minority of cases; nevertheless, data suggest that injecting drug use remains a significant risk factor for HCV infection. In 2017, around 80 % of newly diagnosed cases of HCV infection with known mode of transmission were linked to injecting drug use. Among newly diagnosed cases of HBV infection in 2017 with available information, the proportion linked to injecting drug use was 23 %.

A study covering 2011-14 indicated large geographical variations in rates of HIV, HCV and HBV infection among people who inject drugs from eight cities, which is attributed to different use patterns, age structures and local conditions.

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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.