The analysis of the effects of HIV and HCV on both the quantity of life and the quality of life of persons with these diseases adds a further dimension to the assessment of the effect of NSPs among injecting drug users. As demonstrated in Section 4, the investment in NSPs to date has been shown to be financially beneficial, and satisfies current government investment criteria on financial grounds alone. Any benefits to consumers in terms of the number of lives saved, the number of life years gained, and the improved quality of life are therefore additional to the direct financial benefits to governments previously identified.

Our analysis demonstrates that NSPs have contributed significantly to:

  • The number of cases of HIV and HCV avoided;

  • A reduction in the number of deaths from HIV, and to a lesser extent from HCV;

  • An increase in the number of life years among injecting drug users, particularly from the avoidance of HIV; and

  • An improvement in the quality of life among injecting drug users who would otherwise have contracted HIV or HCV.
Each of these outcomes should be considered over and above the direct financial benefits achieved from the investment in NSPs. It is clear that if we were to place a monetary value against any of these outcomes, the financial gains already demonstrated would be significantly increased.