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HIV and People Who Inject Drugs

Education Packet

HIV and People Who Inject Drugs – This packet is a compilation of several recent fact sheets and other resources. You may wish to customize it to meet the needs or interests of particular groups, such as event participants, providers, patients, clients, or the general public. So please feel free to distribute all or part of this packet as either a printout or PDF.

Fact Sheets and Background Information

HIV and People Who Inject Drugs (CDC) – This fact sheet has information about new HIV diagnoses, prevalence, deaths, and the HIV care continuum among people who inject drugs (PWID). Selected data breakdowns are provided by race/ethnicity, gender, and transmission category.  This also examines prevention challenges and what CDC is doing to address HIV risk among PWID.

HIV and Injecting Drugs 101 (CDC) – This bilingual fact sheet discusses how people may become infected from injecting drugs, how they can lower their risks of infection, and where to get new, clean needles and syringes. Page 1 is in English, and page 2 is in Spanish.

HIV and Injection Drug Use (CDC) – This publication focuses on risks of HIV infection, other infections, and overdose associated with injection drug use (IDU). Steps for reducing the risk of HIV infection from IDU are also described.

Drug Use and Viral Infections (HIV, Hepatitis) (National Institute on Drug Abuse – NIDA) – This fact sheet examines the relationship between drug use and viral infections, including HIV and viral hepatitis. Information is provided about the effects of drug use on HIV symptoms and progression, as well as steps people can take to reduce HIV transmission risk. Also available in Spanish.

Drugs, Alcohol, and HIV (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) – This publication provides an overview of drugs, alcohol, and HIV. It examines their effects on the immune system, drug interactions between substances and HIV medications, safer sex, and injection drug use.

Harm Reduction Saves Lives and related video (UNAIDS) – These materials focus on trends in injection drug use worldwide and UNAIDS recommendations for reducing the harm associated with injection drug use.

HIV Surveillance Reports and Data Analyses

Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2019 (CDC) – This 123-page surveillance report includes detailed information about new HIV diagnoses, prevalence, and deaths among persons who inject drugs (PWID), as well as persons in other transmission categories. Breakdowns are also provided by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and geographic region. The report includes a series of Special Focus Profiles highlighting six populations of particular interest to HIV prevention programs in state and local health departments, including PWID. In addition, Tables 5a, 5b, 6a, and 6b focus specifically on HIV diagnoses attributed completely or in part to injection drug use, and many other tables include data breakdowns by transmission category.

Estimated HIV Incidence and Prevalence in the United States, 2015-2019 (CDC) – This report provides estimates of the number of new HIV infections and the total number of persons living with HIV during each year from 2015 through 2019. It begins with a commentary section that summarizes highlights of the report, followed by 13 tables that present data on HIV incidence and prevalence among adults and adolescents, with breakdowns by sex at birth, age, race/ethnicity, transmission category, and region of residence. The transmission category data include statistics for injection drug use alone, as well as for injection drug use combined with male-to-male sexual contact. An appendix focuses on the estimated incidence and prevalence of HIV infection among adults and adolescents living in Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) Phase 1 jurisdictions.

Monitoring Selected National HIV Prevention and Care Objectives by Using HIV Surveillance Data United States and 6 Dependent Areas, 2019 (CDC) – This report presents the results of focused analyses of U.S. HIV surveillance data to measure progress toward ending the HIV epidemic. It includes information on the stage of HIV disease at time of diagnosis, linkage to HIV medical care, viral suppression, prevalence-based HIV care continuum, HIV deaths and survival, use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), and perinatal HIV infections. The report also includes a series of Special Focus Profiles highlighting six populations of particular interest to HIV prevention programs in state and local health departments, including PWID. For some measures, data are broken down by transmission category, as well as gender, age, race/ethnicity, and area of residence. 

Estimated HIV Incidence and Prevalence in the United States, 2010-2019 (CDC) – This slide set summarizes trends in HIV incidence during the 2010s, with breakdowns by transmission category, age, sex, race/ethnicity, and region. Data for 2019 is also provided on knowledge of HIV status, as well as HIV prevalence in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

HIV Infection, Stage 3 (AIDS), 2019 (CDC) – This slide set summarizes trends in AIDS diagnoses and deaths from 1985 to 2019, with breakdowns by transmission category, age, sex, race/ethnicity, and region. Data on cumulative AIDS diagnoses and deaths through 2019, and AIDS data for Metropolitan Statistical Areas are also provided.

HIV Surveillance – Persons Who Inject Drugs 2018 (Preliminary) (CDC) – This slide set presents HIV surveillance data focusing on PWID in a series of charts and graphs. Slides include data on multi-year trends in new HIV and AIDS diagnoses; recent HIV prevalence figures and death rates, with breakdowns by race/ethnicity; and new HIV and AIDS diagnoses, with breakdowns by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and region.

HIV Surveillance in Urban and Nonurban Areas 2018 (Preliminary) – This slide set presents regional variations in diagnoses of HIV and AIDS among adults and adolescents in the United States. Some slides in this set focus on HIV diagnoses by transmission category, including injection drug use, in large metropolitan areas, smaller metropolitan areas, and nonmetropolitan areas.

AIDSVu – AIDSVu is an interactive online mapping tool that visualizes the impact of the HIV epidemic on communities across the U.S.  State-by-state data and limited county data for each New England state are available at the following links: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The state data include information on new HIV diagnoses and HIV prevalence by transmission category, including injection drug use. Detailed data are also available for the following areas: Boston, the Hartford metropolitan statistical area (MSA); the Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk MSA, and the New Haven-Milford MSA.

HIV Infection Risk, Prevention, and Testing Behaviors Among Persons Who Inject Drugs: 23 U.S. Cities, 2018 – This surveillance report summarizes data gathered from approximately 11,400 PWID surveyed in 23 major U.S. cities during 2018.  Data are provided on: HIV prevalence among PWID by age, race/ethnicity, and gender; recent and lifetime HIV testing; condomless sex; sharing of syringes and injection equipment; recent diagnoses of sexually transmitted infections; hepatitis C testing and diagnoses; receipt of HIV prevention, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP); and receipt of HIV care and treatment.

Global Data from UNAIDS’s AIDSInfo – This interactive resource provides extensive information on HIV worldwide. Data breakdowns are provided for some key population groups, including PWID.  Global data for PWID available on this resource include: the number of people living with HIV, HIV prevalence, knowledge of HIV status, antiretroviral therapy coverage, condom use, coverage of HIV prevention programs, safe injecting practices, coverage of opioid substitution therapy, viral hepatitis, and avoidance of health care because of stigma and discrimination.

Guidelines, Recommendations, and Reports

Guidelines for the Use of Antiretroviral Agents in Adults and Adolescents with HIV: Considerations for Antiretroviral Use in Special Patient Populations – Substance Use Disorders and HIV (

Consolidated Guidelines on HIV Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Care for Key Populations: 2016 Update and associated policy brief (World Health Organization – WHO)

HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care, and Support for People Who Use Stimulant Drugs: Technical Guide (WHO and multiple international agencies)

Implementing Comprehensive HIV and HCV Programmes with People Who Inject Drugs: Practical Guidance for Collaborative Interventions (WHO and multiple international agencies)

Seizing the Moment: Tackling Entrenched Inequalities to End Epidemics (UNAIDS)

Health, Rights, and Drugs – Harm Reduction, Decriminalization, and Zero Discrimination for People Who Use Drugs (UNAIDS)

Managing HIV and Hepatitis C Outbreaks Among People Who Inject Drugs: A Guide for State and Local Health Departments (CDC)

Summary of Considerations for Management of HIV and Hepatitis C Outbreaks Among People Who Inject Drugs – A Checklist for State and Local Health Departments (CDC)

Community Response Planning for Outbreaks of HIV/Hepatitis Among Persons Who Inject Drugs and related webinar slides (National Association of County and City Health Officials)

Compiled Resources: HIV and PWID

Resources from CDC for Consumers (not previously listed)

Resources from CDC for Providers and Public Health Partners (not previously listed)


The contents listed on this page are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, the New England AIDS Education and Training Center.