People who inject drugs (PWID) are at increased HIV transmission risk because of unsafe injecting practices and a host of other individual, network, and structural factors. Thus, PWID have a great need for services within the Cascade of HIV prevention, diagnosis, care, and treatment (HIV Cascade). Yet the systems that monitor their progress through the Cascade are often lacking. Subsequently, fewer reliable data are available to guide programs targeting this key population (KP). Programmatic data, which are helpful in tracking PWID through the Cascade, also are limited because not all countries have harm reduction programming from which to estimate Cascade indicators. Also, due to stigma and the illegal nature of drug use, PWID may not disclose their drug use behavior or HIV status when accessing services. Consequently, PWID appear to have low HIV testing rates and, for those living with HIV, lower access to health services and lower viral suppression rates than do other KP groups. This commentary, based on outcomes from an international stakeholder meeting, identifies data gaps and proposes solutions to strengthen strategic information (SI), the systematic collection, analysis, and dissemination of information, to optimize HIV prevention, care, and treatment programming for PWID.
Pierce, R. D., Hegle, J., Sabin, K., Agustian, E., Johnston, L. G., Mills, S., & Todd, C. S. (2015, October 16). Strategic information is everyone’s business: Perspectives from an international stakeholder meeting to enhance strategic information data along the HIV Cascade for people who inject drugs. Harm Reduction Journal. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12954-015-0073-y