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.
- HIV antibody prevalence remained low, nationally, at less than two percent, with the exception of participants reporting male homosexual identity (37% in 2008).
- HCV antibody prevalence has remained high, but stable, at 62% over the past three years.
- The median age of survey participants continued to increase, from 32 years in 2004 to 36 years in 2008.
- The proportion of participants reporting daily or more frequent injection in the month prior to the survey remained stable at between 47% and 49%.
- Receptive sharing in the month prior to survey completion was relatively low and stable between 2004 and 2008 (range 13% to 18%).