Needle & Syringe Programs (NSPs)are one of Australia’s most successful public health interventions. The prevalence of HIV among people who inject in Australia is one of the lowest in the world, largely due to these programs. NSPs have also reduced the rate of hepatitis in Australia; however, more work needs to be done in this area.
In Australia, it is estimated that approximately 304,000 people have been exposed to the hepatitis C virus & around 226,700 are living with chronic hepatitis C. (Kirby Institute, 2012). Hepatitis C is the leading cause of liver transplant in this country & strongly associated with liver disease & liver cancer.
We envisage that the Peer Networker Program will run alongside existing NSPs to increase availability of new injecting equipment especially for hard to reach groups and in this way reduce the need for sharing & the risk of hepatitis C transmission. We also hope to enhance accessibility people who still do not access NSPs.