The authors declare that they have no competing interest.
YY performed the statistical analysis and drafted the manuscript. CL conceived of and coordinated the completion of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. RSL and CY conducted the fieldwork and reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
HIV prevalence is high in Liangshan, China (1.1 %). In 2012, people who inject drugs (PWID) in Xichang, the capital city, contributed to 60.0 % of the HIV infections. The goal of the current study was to examine the feasibility of implementing pharmacy-delivered harm reduction services (PDHRS) for PWID.
Face-to-face structured interviews with 403 PWID included questions on PWID’s experiences of syringe services and their specific experiences, acceptance, and potential usage of PDHRS.
There were some reports of harassment/bad treatment from pharmacists (12.2 %) and police (17.6 %). Non-prescription syringe sales (NPSS) from pharmacies in single piece were the main source (82.1 %) of syringes. 72.5 % of PWID reported visiting 31.5 % of the identified pharmacies. Most (74.7 %) PWID disposed of their used syringes by throwing them away. Only one PWID brought used syringes back to a pharmacy in the past 30 days. Half of the PDHRS, such as printed materials about HIV, Hepatitis C and STIs; risk reduction services; (16.9 %) and sharps container to dispose of syringes (0.2 %) were offered by a few pharmacies (<20 % for each service). The acceptance rates among PWID toward currently offered services were high (≥91.1 %). All potential PDHRS were acceptable by most (68–95.3 %) PWID, and correspondingly 67–94.5 % of PWID reported they would use each service if offered.
NPSS from pharmacies provided many PWID in Liangshan with new syringes. However, disposal of used syringes was problematic. At the time of investigation, half of 16 assessed PDHRS were already available in pharmacies in Xichang. PWID were ready to use all the potential PDHRS and14 of 16 PDHRS were feasible to provide. HIV testing kits may be available in pharmacies in the future. Many pharmacy-delivered harm reduction services are feasible and acceptable among PWID in Xichang, China.