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

6.2 Primary prevention of blood borne viruses attributable to injecting drug use

Page last updated: July 2010

The prevailing modes of transmission of BBVs may vary between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population and the non-indigenous population. While existing data collection systems may be capable of quickly and reliably detecting changes in the mode of transmission, the numbers of new cases are not always high enough to draw conclusions at population level. However, the existence of risk factors for BBV transmission in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community means primary prevention remains important.

Successful primary prevention activities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples require a focus on both population level, and on behavioural change at individual level. This includes:

  • increasing access for injecting drug users to NSPs
  • involving injecting peers to prevent transmission of BBVs; increasing appropriate drug education and health promotion programs within communities
  • delaying or preventing the onset of drug use
  • encouraging those who are dependent on recreational drugs to seek treatment
  • ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities participate in, develop ownership of and recognise the need for all of these programs.