IDUHA was established in 2002 and is a coalition of community-based syringe access providers and allies around the city with the common goal of advocating for the health needs of IDUs and improving public health. IDUHA organizations cover the five boroughs, comprehensively addressing public health needs related to injection drug use throughout the city. IDUHA works to promote and implement strategies that prevent the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and hepatitis C, prevent death by overdose and disease, support healthy behaviors, address addiction, and facilitate clients into medical care, mental health care, and drug treatment. IDUHA membership organizations achieve this through the distribution of clean syringes, hepatitis C testing and care coordination, overdose prevention training through the use of Naloxone, providing outreach and education about drug treatment options such as buprenorphine, and community education and training for participants of IDUHA programs to advocate for changes in city policies in support of IDUs and their communities.
New York City has an estimated 200,000 drug injectors who experience a range of health issues that are not effectively addressed by the traditional health care system. These individuals and their communities are impacted by and at greater risk for: HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, overdose, homelessness, and mental health issues. Syringe access programs have been highly successful in reducing new HIV infections among people who inject drugs and their families. Still, because of lack of funding, political support, discriminatory social and law enforcement policies as well as stigma attached to drug use and drug users, injection drug use accounts for almost 50% of all new HIV infections in New York City (NYC DOHMH). Hepatitis C is endemic among current and former injection drug users, 50-90% of whom have been infected (CDC).