Spain Country Drug Report 2019

Drug-related infectious diseases

In the last 20 years, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection has represented one of the main health problems associated with drug use in Spain. However, since the end of the 1990s, a significant decrease has been observed in HIV infection associated with injecting drug use.

Information on HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection among people who inject drugs (PWID) at the national level in Spain is routinely collected through drug treatment centres and prisons and is based on the result of serological tests among those who have injected drugs during their lifetime. In 2016, three quarters of clients knew their HIV or HCV status, while only one third were aware of their HBV status. Although approximately one third of PWID who entered drug treatment in Spain in 2016 and knew their serological status were HIV positive (prevalence), the incidence of HIV infection (newly diagnosed cases) remained low in 2017.

Prevalence of HIV and HCV antibodies among people who inject drugs in Spain (%)
  Region HCV HIV
Data from 2016.
National 64.4 31.1
Sub-national : :

A recently published cohort study reported that up to three quarters of PWID are HCV positive (as determined by the presence of anti-HCV antibodies). With regard to HBV, around one in eight of PWID admitted to treatment who knew their serological status indicated that they were HBV positive (HBs Ag), that is, chronically infected carriers of the hepatitis B virus.

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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.