People who inject drugs: infection risks, guidance and data
This guide is about infections that occur in people who inject drugs.
People who inject drugs (PWID) are vulnerable to a wide range of viral and bacterial infections. These infections can result in high levels of illness and in death.
In relation to infections among PWID, Public Health England:
- monitors infectious diseases and the associated risk and protective behaviours among this group
- provides information to understand the burden of these infections, and what puts people at risk of catching these infections
- monitors the effectiveness of prevention measures
- supports local areas to understand need and commission appropriate services
- brings people together to share intelligence
Infections among PWID
Unlinked Anonymous Monitoring (UAM) survey
The UAM Survey of PWID is the main source of information on the extent of infections and risks in this population. This multi-site survey is a collaboration between Public Health England and over 60 specialist agencies that work with PWID across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In addition to monitoring disease levels, this survey collects information on:
- injecting and sexual behaviours
- uptake of interventions such vaccinations and diagnostic testing
- use of health care facilities
PWID infection and treatment resources from Public Health England
- National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NTDMS): data on people who inject drugs seeking treatment.
- Estimates of the number of people using and injecting opiates and/or crack-cocaine
- Preventing drug-related deaths: turning evidence into practice briefing
PWID infection and commissioning resources from NICE
Related public health topics
Common infections among PWID
Severe systemic sepsis from HPA’s archive site.
Published: 8 November 2013
Updated: 5 November 2014
- Updated links to guidance from NTA and NICE.
- First published.