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Preventing drug related deaths and blood-borne viruses

Preventing the spread of blood-borne viruses

Preventing the spread of blood-borne viruses (BBVs) is a key public health issue, and a key outcome in the 2010 Drug Strategy. Ensuring people who use drugs do not contract BBVs is one way of keeping them and their communities safe before and during their recovery journeys

Preventing BBV transmission also has benefits for wider society, both in terms of reducing health harms, and reduced treatment costs. Effective local action to prevent BBVs will include a range of services. BBV transmission can be prevented by:

  • Needle and syringe programmes: pharmacy, specialist, outreach/mobile, in hostels and gyms
  • Comprehensive protocols to raise awareness of risks from BBVs which promote and deliver testing and appropriate pathways into treatment for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, and vaccination against hepatitis B 
  • Provision of advice and materials to reduce harm from injecting drug use
  • Offers of testing and/or vaccination to all those at risk of contracting BBVs
  • Programmes that prevent the uptake of injecting drug use and promote switching from injecting drug use to other means of administration
  • Workforce and occupational health interventions for people working with those at risk of contracting BBVs

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