Great question! People who inject with needles (no matter what’s inside the needle) can be at risk of infections like HIV or Hep C if they are sharing any of their equipment or supply.
If you have ever shared steroids, needles, or other injecting equipment with anyone else, we would recommend that you get tested for Hep C and HIV just to be sure of your current status. Also, being open with your doctor about your steroid use may open a dialogue about safe use and risk reduction.
There are ways to make injecting steroids safer from HIV or Hep C transmission:
- Keep enough needles on hand so that you never have to share. You can get free needles from Street Connections. If you buy your needles, make sure that you get enough to last until you can re-stock.
- Check that your vials are properly sealed when you get them, and don’t share vials with other people.
- Don’t share any of the injection equipment that you use. Either mark all of your equipment clearly so that you are the only person using it, or dispose of it after use.
- Dispose of used needles in a sharps container. You can ask Street Connections or Nine Circles Community Health Centre for one to keep wherever you inject.
Ottawa Public health has created a resource on safely injecting steroids.
Lastly, HIV and Hep C can also be passed through sex, so if you are sexually active we would encourage you and your partner(s) to have sexually transmitted and blood-borne infection testing done regularly. A conversation with your doctor or testing nurse will help you decide how often testing is right for you.
I hope that helps!