People who use injection drugs

As of 2008, there were an estimated 1,988 people who use injection drugs infected with HIV in Ontario. This accounts for seven per cent of all HIV-infected people in the province, and 6 per cent of all new HIV infections in Ontario.

The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care supports three initiatives that address HIV and Hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission among people who use injection drugs :

Needle Exchange Programs

Needle exchange programs (NEPs) are located in parts of the province that have high rates of injection drug use. Currently, there are 35 public health units that provide NEPs in Ontario.

Each NEP provides basic services, including :

  • needle distribution and disposal
  • condom distribution
  • education and information
  • referrals and counseling

In addition, many NEPs have augmented their programs by adding :

  • testing for HIV, sexually transmitted infections, HCV and HCV testing for pregnancy
  • immunization
  • food and clothing banks
  • job referrals
  • methadone maintenance clinics
  • medical care

For NEP locations call the AIDS Hotline: 416-392-2437 or 1-800-668-2437.

Ontario Harm Reduction Distribution Program (OHRDP)

The OHRDP is closely affiliated with the government's needle exchange programs. It supports distribution of harm reduction materials intended to reduce HIV and HCV infection transmission, including :

  • sterile water
  • alcohol prep pads
  • tourniquets
  • filters
  • vitamin c (acidifier)
  • cookers

The also provides education, learning opportunities and knowledge transfer through Ontario's needle exchange programs. It hosts an annual harm reduction conference in Ontario.

Injection Drug User Outreach Program

The Injection Drug User Outreach Program funds community-based prevention workers in local communities to provide HIV prevention, education, support and referrals to injection drug users who are at risk of contracting HIV and HCV.

There are 24 community-based agencies in Ontario that operate HIV/IDU outreach programs.

For immediate assistance and referral, please call the AIDS Hotline at :
Toronto : 416-392-2437

For More Information

Call ServiceOntario, Infoline at:
1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free)
In Toronto, (416) 314-5518
TTY 1-800-387-5559.
In Toronto, TTY 416-327-4282
Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm