Third National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Blood Borne Viruses and Sexually Transmissible Infections Strategy: 2010–2013

5.2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who inject drugs

Page last updated: July 2010

Information is limited on the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who inject drugs.7 Different sources point to evidence of increasing injecting drug use within some communities and associated increased risk of transmission of HIV and hepatitis C. These findings require immediate attention. The factors that continue to place those who inject drugs at risk include:

  • lack of access to culturally appropriate BBV prevention education and primary health services, particularly in rural and remote regions
  • discrimination and stigmatisation associated with injecting drug use, within and outside of communities
  • concerns about confidentiality in service provision
  • lack of support for, and the capacity to address, the large number of other health issues, and more pressing and immediate social and legal concerns, which prevent action to confront BBV-related health issues.

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7Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) and Australian Illicit and Injecting Drug Users’ League (AIVL) 2005, ‘Something is going to get us’, a consultation and development project for a national campaign addressing injecting drug use in Indigenous communities, final report, November 2005. AFAO Sydney and AIVL Canberra.