Final report: Performance and image-enhancing drug injecting among Australian men

The research presented in this report was undertaken by researchers from La Trobe University’s Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society in collaboration with researchers from Monash University, the Burnet Institute, and Your Community Health. This Australian Research Council-funded project was undertaken between early 2017 and late 2019.

The report presents findings from interviews conducted with men who consume performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs), and relevant health professionals. Aiming to generate new insights into the experiences of men who consume PIEDs, the project on which the report is based was designed to inform more appropriate and sensitive harm reduction initiatives, engagement strategies and hepatitis C prevention resources. Its aim was to develop a balanced understanding of men’s experiences and perspectives, placing issues of blood-borne virus (BBV) transmission in the context of whole lives and diverse priorities.

The report finds men who inject PIEDs have limited knowledge about hepatitis C transmission. Many nominate GPs as their preferred source of information about PIED use and related issues, and are keen to learn as much as they can to look after their health. As Project leader Professor Suzanne Fraser explains:

We learnt so much about men’s interest in steroids and other performance and image-enhancing drugs, and we now know much more about their health and well-being, the information they need, and the professionals they seek out. All this is useful for designing support resources and services.

The report covers consumer perspectives on PIED injecting and experiences of consumption, hepatitis C knowledge and testing, injecting practices and blood management, general health concerns and information preferences, and consumer and health professional suggestions for improving health and harm reduction services.

Included in the report are 12 recommendations made for improving policy and service provision.

For further information please contact Dr Renae Fomiatti on