Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 7, pp 2467-2473

First online:

Risk Practices Among Aboriginal People Who Inject Drugs in New South Wales, Australia

  • Dana PaquetteAffiliated withNational Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales
  • , Monique McEwanAffiliated withAboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of New South Wales
  • , Joanne BryantAffiliated withNational Centre in HIV Social Research, University of New South Wales Email author 

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This paper describes patterns of injecting drug use and blood borne virus (BBV)-related risk practices among Australian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who inject drugs (PWID). A total of 588 participants, 120 of whom self-identified as Aboriginal completed a questionnaire. Aboriginal participants were more likely to have been in prison (37.6 vs. 16.5 %), to inject daily (72.7 vs. 55.0 %), to share ancillary equipment (64.9 vs. 44.8 %) and less likely to know about BBV transmission (72.0 vs. 87.7 %) and treatment (47.2 vs. 67.6 %). Aboriginal participants used services such as BBV testing and drug treatment at a comparable rate to non-Aboriginal participants. The findings suggest that Aboriginal PWID are at greater risk for acquiring BBV. The prison setting should be used to deliver health promotion information and risk reduction messages. More information is needed on Aboriginal people’s access and use of services to ensure beneficial services are received in the most appropriate settings.


Injecting drug use Aboriginal Australia HIV Hepatitis C