People who use drugs


It has been well documented that people who use drugs frequently experience stigma and discrimination in healthcare and that this directly impacts health care access and health outcomes [1,2,3,4]. Some people who experience problematic drug use or have issues with drug dependency may also be socially isolated or economically disadvantaged due to mental health or unstable housing [5]. A desire to maintain anonymity and a reticence to engage with services due to a range of factors including experiencing stigma and discrimination may make contact tracing challenging.

When considering contact tracing for people who experience problematic drug use, discuss the options available for partner notification, and work with the individual on their preferred notification method. 



[1] Biancarelli DL; Biello KB; Childs E et al; Strategies used by people who inject drugs to avoid stigma in healthcare settings Drug and Alcohol Dependence, Volume 198, 2019, Pages 80-86,

[2] Broady TR,  Brener L,  Cama E, et al; Stigmatising attitudes towards people who inject drugs, and people living with blood borne viruses or sexually transmissible infections in a representative sample of the Australian population PLoS One. 2020 Apr 27;15(4):e0232218. PMID: 32339212; PMCID: PMC7185717. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232218. 

[3] Bayat A-H, Mohammadi R, Moradi-Joo M, et al (2020) HIV and drug related stigma and risk-taking behaviors among people who inject drugs: a systematic review and meta-analysis, J Addict Dis. 2020 Jan-Mar;38(1):71-83. Epub 2020 Jan 31. PMID: 32186479. DOI: 10.1080/10550887.2020.1718264.

[4] Brener L, von Hippel W, Kippax S. Prejudice among health care workers toward injecting drug users with hepatitis C: does greater contact lead to less prejudice? Int J Drug Policy. 2007 Oct;18(5):381-7. Epub 2007 Feb 15. PMID: 17854726. DOI: 10.1080/10550887.2020.1718264

[5] Neale J, Homelessness, drug use and Hepatitis C: A complex problem explored within the context of social exclusion, International Journal of Drug Policy, Volume 19, Issue 6, 2008, Pages 429-435,


Page last updated October 2022