The Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (ANSPS) is a cross-sectional study that has been conducted over a one to two week period each year since 1995. The survey forms the basis of Australia’s human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C surveillance among injecting drug users, and monitors behavioural indices of risk in addition to prevalence of infection.
All clients attending selected NSP sites during the specified survey period are asked to complete a brief self administered questionnaire and to provide a capillary blood sample for HIV and hepatitis C antibody testing. Demographic and behavioural data captured includes injecting ,and sexual behaviour, blood borne virus testing, drug treatment and needle and syringe acquisition.
A National Data Report, summarising national and state/territory data is produced by the Kirby Institute on an annual basis.
- Amphetamine injection increased in 2001 and 2002 and heroin injection decreased, reflecting the reduced availability of heroin in Australia in 2001.
- Use of new sterile needles and syringes for all injections in the month before the survey was high, reported by two-thirds of participants.
- One in five participants reported reuse of someone else’s syringe in the past month, a rate that has remained stable from 1997 to 2002.
- HIV antibody prevalence remained low, except among participants reporting homosexual identity.
- Hepatitis C antibody prevalence increased annually among new heroin injectors since 1998 and among new amphetamine injectors since 2000.