Italy Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related infectious diseases

In Italy, data on the prevalence of drug-related infections are available from samples of treatment clients undergoing voluntary testing at public drug treatment services or in general hospitals. Data on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases among people who inject drugs (PWID) are notified through the AIDS Operational Centre (COA), and the Integrated Epidemiological System of Acute Viral Hepatitis (SEIEVA) collects data on acute viral hepatitis among drug users.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Italy (%)
  Region HCV HIV
Data from 2017. Percentages refer to the number of tested injecting drug clients.
National 64.3 27.7
Sub-national : :

In 2017, 94 new cases of HIV infection among PWID were reported. The number of new HIV diagnoses among PWID decreased between 2010 and 2017; however, in recent years a trend of increasingly late HIV diagnosis has been reported. The prevalence rate of HIV infection among PWID is considered high in the European context.

The number of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections has decreased considerably since 1985; this is linked to the universal HBV vaccination strategy that was introduced in Italy in 1991. Available data from voluntary testing of new treatment clients indicate that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the most prevalent drug-related infection among PWID, while fewer than 1 in 10 drug treatment clients tested positive for HBV.

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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.