Effectiveness of Needle and Syringe Exchange Programs (NSPs) in Sweden

"Alanko-Blomé and colleagues (Alanko-Blomé et al., 2011) have done a follow-up covering the years 1997-2005 of 831 IDUs at the NSP in Malmö. In view of the low HIV prevalence among IDUs in Malmö the study focuses on the incidence of surrogate markers of HIV - particularly hepatitis C, because the risk of HBV infection is affected by the introduction of hepatitis B vaccination. HIV incidence remained very low. However, the corresponding incidence rates for HCV was 38.3 / 100 person-years at risk and for HBV 3.4 / 100 person-years at risk. RNA testing (Ribonucleic acid) showed that 12% already when entering the NSP was affected with hepatitis C virus, but antibodies had not yet developed. This subgroup was therefore already hepatitis C infected before they had access to clean syringes and needles through the NSP. If one corrects for those already infected, the HCV incidence rate decreases to approximately 30 per 100 / person-years at risk, which is still a high level of blood contamination. When the study period was divided into three periods, there was no trend of improvement in recent years. Risk factors for anti-HCV seroconversion were injection of both amphetamine and heroin and imprisonment. The strong improvement for hepatitis B may be entirely attributed to the introduction of hepatitis B vaccination11 (SOU 2011:6).

"The aim of a Swedish study from 2011 was to analyze the burden of HCV-associated inpatient care in Sweden, to demonstrate the changes over time and to compare the findings with a non-infected population. The authors conclude that drug-related care was common in the HCV-infected cohort, the demand for liver-related care was very high, and SLC increased notably in the 2000s, indicating that the burden of inpatient care from serious liver disease in HCV-infected individuals in Sweden is an increasing problem (Duberg et al., 2011)."


Swedish National Institute of Public Health. "2012 National Report (2011 data) To the EMCDDA by the Reitox National Focal Point: Sweden: New Development, Trends and in-depth information on selected issues." Östersund: Swedish National Institute of Public Health, 2012, p. 67.