Needle and syringe programmes to prevent HCV and HIV infection and reduce injecting risk behaviours

Summary of the evidence

  • Beneficial

High NSP coverage (defined as regular attendance at an NSP or all injections being covered by a new needle/syringe) has been found to be effective in a a systematic review with meta-analysis (Platt et al., 2017, 28 studies, N= 11 070 PWID) in:

  • reducing the risk of HCV acquisition by 76 % only in studies in Europe (RR 0.24, 95 % CI 0.09 to 0.62).

Another systematic review (Palmateer et al., 2022, 27 systematic review, 61 studies) confirmed the results and found sufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of OST in:

  • the prevention of HCV transmission among PWID.
  • the prevention of HIV transmission among PWID.
  • reducing self-reported injecting risk behaviour among PWID