Safer Injecting Practices

People who inject drugs (including steroids or hormones) are more vulnerable to acquiring HIV if they use needles, syringes or other drug using equipment that someone with HIV has used.

If you inject drugs there are things you can do to reduce your risk of acquiring HIV and use drugs in a safer way.

To practice safer drug use:

  • Use a new needle and syringe every time you inject drugs. Get new needles and supplies from your nearest needle exchange service.
  • Never share drug equipment (such as cookers, filters, water, alcohol swabs, pipes, straws), not even with your sex partner. Use your own drug equipment every time.
  • Get tested for HIV and hepatitis C. The only way to know if you have HIV or hepatitis C is to get tested. Hepatitis C can now be cured with treatment. The aim of HIV treatment is to suppress the virus to undetectable levels, greatly improving health outcomes for people living with HIV. HIV cannot be passed on through sex when a person is on effective treatment and has an undetectable viral load.

Merchants Quay Ireland published a booklet on safer injecting practices aimed at people who inject drugs: ‘Safer Injecting: Reducing the harm associated with Injecting Drug Use‘.

You can get loads of useful information about drug use and harm reduction at www.drugs.ie including where to find your nearest needle exchange service.