The available data suggest that the incidence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among people who inject drugs (PWID) has remained at very low levels in the Netherlands. Still, prevalence of HCV among this group is much higher than among the general population, and it remains the most common drug-related infection in the country. However, in recent years, men who have sex with men (MSM) have been increasingly seen as a high-risk group with regard to new HCV infections. Special concern exists about the risk of infection in MSM who inject in the context of chemsex (slamming), although the size of this group is unclear. This pattern was reported initially in Amsterdam, but it has also appeared in other larger cities more recently.
|Data from 2017. Data are from Amsterdam.|
New HIV cases linked to drug injecting remain rare. For example, the Amsterdam Cohort Study, initiated in 1985, had recruited 1 661 (injecting) drug users by the end of 2012, but no new cases of HIV infection were reported after 2006. In addition, the presence of PWID in HIV treatment centres has declined over the years.
The Netherlands is considered a low-prevalence country for HBV infection, although the prevalence of chronic HBV among PWID is approximately 3-4 %, which is higher than in the Dutch general population.