Global Prevalence of HIV Related to Injection Drug Use

"PWID [People Who Inject Drugs] accounted for 9 per cent of new adult HIV infections worldwide in 2020, with the proportion rising to 20 per cent outside sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV disproportionately affects adolescent girls and young women.91 UNODC, UNAIDS, WHO and the World Bank jointly estimated that in 2020 approximately one in every eight (12.4 per cent, down from 12.6 per cent in 2019) PWID worldwide were living with HIV, amounting to 1.4 million people.

"The latest UNAIDS estimates suggest that in 2020, PWID had a risk of acquiring HIV that was 35 times greater than that of people who do not inject drugs.92 This underlines the greater vulnerability of PWID to HIV infection than have other key population groups more likely to be exposed to HIV or to transmit it.93, 94

"As a tool to monitor progress in the testing and treatment of HIV, UNAIDS established the 90-90-90 targets in 2014 with the aim that by 2020, 90 per cent of people living with HIV would know their HIV status, 90 per cent of those diagnosed would be receiving antiretroviral treatment, and 90 per cent of those receiving treatment would have achieved viral suppression.95 The sub-population of PWID living with HIV seems to be particularly far from these targets as shown by a study in selected countries in Europe and Central Asia.96

"Eastern Europe and South-West Asia continue to be the subregions with the highest estimated prevalence of HIV among PWID, with more than one in four PWID in those two regions living with HIV. According to UNAIDS, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (as defined geographically by UNAIDS) is the region with the world’s fastest growing HIV epidemic, with the annual number of new adult HIV infections increasing by an estimated 43 per cent between 2010 and 2020. This is in contrast to a 31 per cent decline in the annual number of new adult HIV infections globally in the same period.97"


UNODC, World Drug Report 2022 (United Nations publication, 2022).