This study explored the attitude towards, and experiences of, injection site examination among injecting drug users in opioid treatment and the potential impact of this routine examination on information disclosure and future injection practices.
A self-complete, anonymous, cross-sectional questionnaire was used with 153 patients recruited from three public clinics in Sydney, Australia.
The vast majority (97%) had ever injected in their upper limb, 19% in their leg, 16% in their neck, and 7% in their groin. The majority were 'happy to have their sites inspected' (78%), and felt it was an 'appropriate part of routine examination' (72%). Seventy-seven percent said they would be more honest about recent injecting, and 25% would inject in other sites if upper limb inspection occurred at every clinical review.
The examination of injecting sites can provide useful corroboration of self-reported injecting drug use and an opportunity to offer harm reduction advice. The inspection of injecting sites was acceptable to most patients and should form part of routine clinical reviews.