Evidence for the effectiveness of interventions to prevent infections among people who inject drugs: Drug treatment, needle and syringe programmes and drug consumption rooms for preventing hepatitis C, HIV and injecting risk behaviour


This report describes the methods and findings of systematic reviews of the literature undertaken to update the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) 2011 joint guidance on ‘Prevention and control of infectious diseases among people who inject drugs’. The aim of the work was to assess the latest evidence on the effectiveness of select interventions — specifically, drug treatment, needle and syringe programmes (NSPs), drug consumption rooms and the combination of opioid agonist treatment (OAT) and NSPs — in the prevention of hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission, HIV transmission, injecting risk behaviour (IRB) and injection frequency (IF) among people who inject drugs.

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Table of contents

  • Abbreviations
  • Executive summary
  • Background
  • Methods
    • General overview of approach
    • PICO and inclusion/exclusion criteria
    • Data sources and search methods
    • Selection of reviews/studies
    • Data extraction and management
    • Assessment of the methodological quality of the included reviews and studies
    • Synthesis of evidence and derivation of evidence statements
  • Results
    • Drug treatment (pharmacological)
    • Drug treatment (psychosocial) 
    • Needle and syringe programmes
    • Combination interventions (opioid agonist treatment and needle and syringe programmes)
    • Drug consumption rooms
  • Discussion and conclusions
    • Summary of evidence
    • Strengths and limitations
    • Conclusions and recommendations for future research
  • References
  • Appendixes