Ireland Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related infectious diseases

In 2017, a total of 14 people were newly diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection related to injecting drug use. This compares with 50 notifications among people who inject drugs (PWID) in 2015, which was the highest number since 2008 and was linked to an outbreak of HIV among homeless synthetic cathinone users in Dublin.

In 2016, more than one third of hepatitis C virus (HCV) cases were attributed to injecting drug use; however, information on the route of transmission was provided for less than half of all reported cases of HCV infection. Old age (older than 34 years), male gender and residence in Dublin or the surrounding counties were notable characteristics of PWID reported to be infected with HCV in Ireland.

With regard to hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections, a downward trend in the number of notifications was observed between 2008 and 2014; however, the most recent data suggest that the numbers of cases diagnosed and notified are stabilising. Of the 74 % of acute cases notified for which risk factor data were available, less than 5 % were likely to have been acquired through injecting drugs.

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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.