The main risk for getting infected with a blood-borne virus (BBV), including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, is by injecting drugs. This is through re-using or sharing any drug injecting equipment such as needles and syringes, spoons and tourniquets.
The safest option by far is to not inject at all, but if you are going to use drugs, think about alternatives to injecting such as, swallowing or smoking.
If you do decide to inject drugs then the risk of BBVs may be reduced by:
- washing your hands in soapy water (or swabbing your hands with a new swab) before and after injecting.
- not sharing needles and syringes with anyone else, including partners always use your own new, sterile needles and syringes and sterile water. Also use your own spoon, swabs, filters, and tourniquets.
- disposing of your used equipment by returning it to a needle and syringe exchange program or put it in a metal disposal bin provided by some local governments or businesses. If neither of these is possible, put it in a sealed and rigid plastic container and put it in the domestic rubbish (not the recycle bin).
You can get sterile needles and syringes (with disposal containers) and more information from needle and syringe exchange programs, and from hospitals outside the metro area. For more information go to the Healthy WA website (external site)
Most pharmacies also sell needles and syringes.. More information about these services is available on the Healthy WA website (external site)
For more information about safer injecting drug use, contact the WA Substance Users Association (WASUA) on (08) 9325 8387 or firstname.lastname@example.org or go to WASUA website (external site)