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