HIV among people who inject drugs in India: A systematic review


BACKGROUND: Little is known about the epidemiology of HIV infection among HIV positive people who inject drugs (PWID) in India. Injecting drug use has emerged as an important route of HIV transmission in India. The objective of this study was to conduct a systematic review on the risk behaviours associated with HIV infection among HIV positive PWID and assess the data reported. METHODS: A systematic search of six electronic databases, Scopus, PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Embase and Ovid Medline was conducted. These databases were searched for published studies on injecting risk behaviours, sexual risk behaviours and socio-demographic factors associated with HIV infection among HIV positive PWID in India. RESULTS: A total of 15 studies were included in the review of which 3 studies evaluated HIV/HCV coinfection among HIV positive PWID. Older age, low educational level and employment status were significantly associated with HIV infection. Sharing of syringe and needle, frequency of injection, early initiation of injecting practice, inconsistent condom use and having multiple sexual partners were all commonly associated with HIV infection among HIV positive PWID. CONCLUSION: Our study identified significant injecting and sexual risk behaviours among HIV positive PWID in India. There is an increasing HIV transmission among PWID in different states, more so in the northeastern states and in metropolitan cities in India. More studies need to be conducted in other regions of the country to understand the true burden of the disease. The lack of sufficient data among HIV positive female PWID does not preclude the possibility of a hidden epidemic among female PWID. The need of the hour is for the prevention of further transmission by this high-risk group through the provision of comprehensive programs, surveillance and robust continuation of harm reduction services.


Pachuau LN, Tannous C, Dhami MV, Agho KE




  • Epidemiology and Determinants of Health
    • Epidemiology
    • Determinants of Health
  • Determinants of Health
    • Employment
    • Education
  • Population(s)
    • People who use drugs
    • General HIV+ population
  • Co-infections
    • Hepatitis B, C


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