Publications & Reports

Factors influencing a self-limiting HIV outbreak among ethnic Vietnamese injecting drug users in Melbourne, Australia.

Higgs P, Yohannes K, Hellard M, Maher L
The Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. [email protected]


Successful HIV prevention programs-such as sterile needle and syringe programs-have ensured that incidence and prevalence of HIV among people who inject drugs remains low in Australia. However, between 1999 and 2006, 20 of the 46 injecting-related HIV notifications in Melbourne (Australia’s second-largest city) were ethnic Vietnamese heroin users. Through in-depth interviews we explored and documented the coping tactics and strategies of 9 ethnic Vietnamese heroin injectors. We explored their experiences of living with HIV, and in this article identify factors that appear to have contributed to limiting the spread of HIV beyond this cluster of people. The data reveal factors associated with this self-limiting outbreak, including consciously avoiding opioid withdrawal and having closed injecting networks. Early and effective engagement with participants by health care workers also appears to have played an important role in containing the transmission of HIV within this group of ethnic Vietnamese heroin injectors.


  • Journal: Qualitative Health Research
  • Published: 01/12/2009
  • Volume: 19
  • Issue: 12
  • Pagination: 1690-1701