More taboo than talking about drugs


This report describes the findings of qualitative research project, assessing the sexual health needs of people who inject drugs (PWID) in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

PWID face a number of intersecting inequalities, which affects risks to sexual health as well as access to services and information. Inconsistency in access to, and provision of sexual health services, has detrimental impacts on PWID, and heightens incidence of STIs and HIV – as witnessed through Glasgow’s most recent HIV outbreak.

The research was conducted between September 2021 and September 2022, and through two phases of research, we heard from 30 people who inject drugs (PWID) – phase 1 – and 16 health and social care professionals employed within the area – phase 2.

So, when you’re going to see these people, it’s all right them speaking about your addiction, a bit about your mental health, but what about your sexual health? I could be loaded up with something and that’s affecting me in another way. If I had an infection it could be playing up things in my body, making me feel uncomfortable and I don’t know. It could lead to other things, I’m trying to explain.