Society of African Journal Editors

African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies

Need for needle and syringe programmes in Africa

Authors: S Derrick, NC Clark

Journal: African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies

A narrative review was conducted, drawing on peer reviewed literature and relevant grey literature on injecting drug use in African countries and ethical dilemmas facing harm reduction especially the provision of sterile needles and syringes to injecting drug users. This review aimed at highlighting evidence and the arguments for and against the provision of sterile injecting equipment to people who inject drugs (PWID), and to consider the implications for the African context. The narrative established that high risk injecting drug  practices are common among PWID in many African communities, and so are HIV and hepatitis. Current services for this population in Africa are less pragmatic and inadequate. Needle and syringe programmes are both effective and ethical and should be part of the response to injecting drug use in Africa. Key words : Needle and syringe programmes, injecting drug use, ethics, HIV