The Most Important Points at a Glance

Hygiene

Pathogens are often spread through unwashed hands. That is why you should always be sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

Develop blood awareness

Blood can always be contaminated with hepatitis and HI viruses and should therefore always be treated as potentially infectious. The rule of thumb here: pay special attention to even the smallest amounts of residual blood – even dried blood – and not just during intravenous drug use.

Drug users should always use their own sterile materials

A sufficient supply of sterile injection materials must be on hand and available 24 hours a day. It should be noted here that intravenous cocaine users have especially substantial needs.

  • When setting up for intravenous injection: Be sure to use a clean surface. Use your own sterile syringe and needle, your own filter, your own spoon, and your own water. Disinfect the insertion site with alcohol prior to injection.
  • When snorting: Be sure to use a clean surface. Use your own tube or straw.
  • When smoking or freebasing: Use your own tube or straw and your own mouthpiece.

Clean injection technique

  • Wash hands thoroughly.
  • Use a sterile syringe with a filter or use a piece of your own cigarette filter, if necessary. Do not remove the cigarette filter with your teeth after use, but instead use your washed hands.
  • Do not share/loan/pass along the filter.
  • Use your own spoon. Clean it thoroughly before use (with water, with disinfecting wipe).
  • Use sterile water or – if not available – use fresh water directly from the tap.

Safer Sex

  • During sexual intercourse involving penetration – whether vaginal or anal – always use a good-quality condom; always use lubrication for anal penetration.
  • Do not take any sperm into your mouth, do not swallow any sperm.
  • Do not take any menstrual blood into your mouth, do not swallow any menstrual blood.
  • Sex workers: Always use a condom, even during oral sex (to avoid sexually transmitted diseases).

Get vaccinated

  • You can get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B.
  • There is no vaccination against hepatitis C and HIV.

Get tested

Hepatitis-contaminated injections often go unnoticed (no symptoms). But the earlier a contaminated injection is discovered and treated, the better your chances of recovery. As a result, it is important to get tested.

Get treated

The chances of success in the treatment of hepatitis viruses among drug users are similar to those for patients with no addictions.
Therefore, it is important to seek good advice from a qualified professional.

Please note: It is possible to become reinfected with hepatitis C.