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Rural Health Information Hub

People who Inject Drugs

Injection drug usage has increased dramatically in rural areas during the last decade. Sharing drug injection equipment such as needles, cookers, water, and cotton puts people who inject drugs (PWID) at risk for getting HIV. Sharing equipment generally occurs because PWID cannot afford enough equipment or there are not enough needles or syringes in a group for everyone to have his/her own.

PWID face multiple health, social, psychological, and financial risks due to substance use, mental illness, poverty, and homelessness. Given these risks, treatment for substance use disorders is also very important for preventing HIV in the PWID population.

For additional implementation considerations for rural programs working with people who inject drugs, see the Rural Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Toolkit.

Resources to Learn More

HIV and People Who Use Drugs
Disseminates key information and statistics about HIV risk, prevention, and treatment for PWID. Details why PWID are at risk of HIV transmission and what harm reduction measures are effective HIV prevention strategies.
Organization(s): AVERT

Prevention and Treatment of HIV Among People Living with Substance Use and/or Mental Disorders
Describes evidence-based practices and effective service delivery models for healthcare providers and other stakeholders working to prevent and treat HIV among populations with mental illness and/or substance abuse.
Organization(s): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Date: 11/2020