HIV/HCV prevention among people who inject drugs (PWID) is of key public health importance. We aimed to assess the impact of COVID-19 and associated response measures on HIV/HCV prevention services and socio-economic status of PWID in high-HIV-risk sites. Sites with recent (2011–2019) HIV outbreaks among PWID in Europe North America and Israel, that had been previously identified, were contacted early May 2020. Out of 17 sites invited to participate, 13 accepted. Semi-structured qualitative site reports were prepared covering data from March to May 2020, analyzed/coded and confirmed with a structured questionnaire, in which all sites explicitly responded to all 103 issues reported in the qualitative reports. Opioid maintenance treatment, needle/syringe programs and antiretroviral treatment /hepatitis C treatment continued, but with important reductions and operational changes. Increases in overdoses, widespread difficulties with food and hygiene needs, disruptions in drug supply, and increased homelessness were reported. Service programs rapidly reformed long established, and politically entrenched, restrictive service delivery policies. Future epidemic control measures should include mitigation of negative side-effects on service provision and socio-economic determinants in PWID.


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Wiessing, L., Sypsa, V., Abagiu, A., Arble, A., Berndt, N., Bosch, A., Buskin, S., Chemtob, D., Combs, B., Conyngham, C., Feelemyer, J., Fitzgerald, M., Goldberg, D., Hatzakis, A., Patrascu, R., Keenan, E., Khan, I., Konrad, S., Leahy, J., McAuley, A., Menza, T., Merrick, S., Metcalfe, R., Rademaker, T., Revivo, S., Rosca, P., Seguin-Devaux, C., Skinner, S., Smith, C., Tinsley, J., Wilberg, M. & Des Jarlais, D. 2022, 'Impact of COVID-19 and response measures on HIV-HCV prevention services and social determinants in people who inject drugs in 13 sites with recent HIV outbreaks in Europe, North America and Israel', AIDS and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-022-03851-x

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Last updated: 23 November 2023
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