Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, has been experiencing an HIV outbreak among people who inject drugs (PWID) since 2015. A key focus of the public health response has been to increase HIV testing among those at risk of infection. Our aim was to assess the impact of COVID-19 on HIV testing among PWID in Glasgow. HIV test uptake in the last 12 months was quantified among: (1) PWID recruited in six Needle Exchange Surveillance Initiative (NESI) surveys (n = 6110); linked laboratory data for (2) people prescribed opioid agonist therapy (OAT) (n = 14,527) and (3) people hospitalised for an injecting-related hospital admission (IRHA) (n = 12,621) across four time periods: pre-outbreak (2010–2014); early-outbreak (2015–2016); ongoing-outbreak (2017–2019); and COVID-19 (2020–June 21). From the pre to ongoing period, HIV testing increased: the highest among people recruited in NESI (from 28% to 56%) and on OAT (from 17% to 54%) while the lowest was among people with an IRHA (from 15% to 42%). From the ongoing to the COVID-19 period, HIV testing decreased markedly among people prescribed OAT, from 54% to 37% (aOR 0.50, 95% CI 0.48–0.53), but increased marginally among people with an IRHA from 42% to 47% (aOR 1.19, 95% CI 1.08–1.31). In conclusion, progress in increasing testing in response to the HIV outbreak has been eroded by COVID-19. Adoption of a linked data approach could be warranted in other settings to inform efforts to eliminate HIV transmission.


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Trayner, K., Yeung, A., Palmateer, N., McAuley, A., Wilkinson, M., Craik, J., Metcalfe, R., Peters, E., Shepherd, S., Gunson, R., Carter, D., Sills, L. & Hutchinson, S. 2024, 'Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HIV test uptake among people who inject drugs in the context of an HIV outbreak', AIDS and Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-024-04311-4

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Last updated: 06 May 2024
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