This guidance on prevention of viral hepatitis B and C among people who inject drugs is the first step in the provision of comprehensive guidance on viral hepatitis surveillance, prevention, and treatment by the World Health Organization. These recommendations are based on systematic reviews of scientific evidence, community values, and preferences and implementation issues.
The focus of this guidance is on low- and middle-income countries, but it applies equally to high-income settings. The WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS technical guide for countries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care for injecting drug users presents a comprehensive package of interventions for HIV prevention, treatment and care for people who inject drugs. This document has helped to achieve global consensus with high-level political bodies, the United Nations, donor agencies and civil society organizations on adopting a public health response that best addresses HIV in countries facing epidemics of injecting drug use. The nine interventions of this package (see box) are also relevant to the prevention of viral hepatitis, in particular the first two, needle and syringe programmes and opioid substitution therapy.