Australian NSP Survey National Data Report 2014 – 2018

The Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (ANSPS) provides serial point prevalence estimates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) (antibody and RNA) and sexual and injecting risk behaviour among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Australia. Conducted annually over a one-two week period in October, all clients attending participating needle and syringe program (NSP) services are invited to complete a brief, anonymous questionnaire and to provide a capillary blood sample for HIV and HCV testing. HCV RNA testing commenced in 2015 and data are presented for the first time in this report.

This report presents national and state/territory data for the period 2014 to 2018.

Key findings
  • In 2018, 53 Australian Needle and Syringe Programs (NSPs) participated in the ANSPS and 2,742 NSP attendees completed the survey. The response rate was 45%.
  • HIV antibody prevalence remained low and stable nationally, ranging from 1.4% to 2.1% over the period 2014 to 2018.
  • HCV virus antibody prevalence declined from 54% in 2014 to 45% in 2018.
  • Among respondents assessed as eligible for HCV treatment, the proportion who reported a lifetime history of HCV treatment increased significantly, from 13% in 2014 to 55% in 2018.
  • Among respondents tested for HCV RNA, the proportion with detectable HCV RNA declined from 51% in 2015 to 20% in 2018.