Scheibe, S., Shelly, S., Lambert, A., et al. Harm Reduction Journal (2017), 14:35, doi:10.1186/s12954-017-0164-z.
This study estimated population size in Cape Town, eThekwini, and Tshwane in South Africa and gathered information about safe injection practices, mobility patterns, and location coordinates of people who inject drugs (PWID). The study team visited injection sites, assessed the availability of HIV prevention supplies, and conducted interviews with PWID. Participants answered questions about number of daily injection sites visited, their ability to access HIV prevention supplies, and if their health needs were addressed; they also identified the locations of other sites, which the study team later visited. Geospatial mapping identified information about each PWID location and estimated PWID population sizes to determine service needs and routes. In Cape Town and Tshwane, 69 and 37 PWID locations were confirmed, respectively. No clean injecting supplies were available at any location in either city. In both cities 92 percent of PWID identified a nearby pharmacy where injecting supplies could be purchased. In eThekwini, 39 PWID locations were confirmed. Sterile supplies were available at one location and near six others, and 98 percent of PWID were able to identify a pharmacy to purchase clean needles. Across cities, only one-third felt that their health needs were being met. These findings indicated that PWID are accessible and need HIV prevention services, which require significantly more attention and financing.