23 Jul 2014

Drug-user HIV rates 'lowest ever'

9:52 am on 23 July 2014

Rates of HIV infections among injecting drug users are at their lowest ever, research shows.

Seven hundred respondents took part in a New Zealand Needle Exchange study, which showed the rate of HIV had dropped to just 0.2 percent.

Exchange director Charles Henderson said that was down from about 40 percent in the late 1980s but that there were other challenges ahead.

"The great result of HIV is tempered a little bit by the challenges that remain around the other blood-borne viruses," Mr Henderson said.

"Really, I would like to say that we really do need to scale up our harm reduction efforts in terms of the Hepatitis C virus so that we can reduce that further."

Mr Henderson called on the Government to fund further research into Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B.