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Table 1 Key characteristics of the included systematic reviews and Risk of bias of each review

From: Effectiveness of needle and syringe Programmes in people who inject drugs – An overview of systematic reviews

Authors, date of publicationa PICOSb Dates of last search Databases searched (n) Risk of Bias and quality of evidence tools Total number of studies/Number of studies relevant to the overview (designs)c,d Risk of bias of the review (assessed using ROBIS tool)
Quantitative synthesis- meta-analysis
 Aspinall, 2014 [27] P: PWID
I: NSP (Specialist sites, pharmacies or outreach services)
C: No, rare, or less exposure to NSP
O: HIV incidence
S: any
2012 CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, IBSS, MEDLINE and PsycINFO (6) Newcastle-Ottawa each study & GRADE to assess quality of evidence as a whole 12/12 (11 CC/Co; 1 OTH) Low
 Hagan, 2011 [34] P: individuals who could conceivably have acquired HCV infection via administration of an illegal drug (PWID among them)
I: interventions that could prevent HCV infection
C:NR
O: HCV prevalence or incidence rates, and measures of association with prevalence or incidence
S: any
2010 Current Contents, Dissertation Abstracts, ERIC, NIH CRISP, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Sociological Abstracts (7) Developed their own quality scale 26/7 (7 CC/Co) High
 Turner, 2011 [32] P: PWID in the UK
I: NSP or OST (or combination)
C: OST vs non OST; high vs low coverage of NSP
O: HCV infection and IRB
S: any
NR PubMed and Web of Science (2) None 4/3 (1 CC/Co; 2 OTH) High
 Cross, 1998 [26] P: PWID
I: NSP or educational programmes
C: NR
O: IRB
S: experimental or quasi-experimental design
1995 AIDSLINE, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, Social Science Citation Index (4) None 26/10 (1 RCT; 9 OTH) High
Qualitative synthesis
 Abdul-Quader, 2013 [29] P: PWID
I: Structural interventions that address external factors to reduce HIV and HCV
C: any quantitative comparison
O: Changes in HIV/HCV in relation to intervention
S: controlled or before & after
2011 Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, LILACS, PsycINFO, PubMed, and the Web of Science/Web of Social Science (6) WHO-Johns Hopkins 9-Point Rigour Scale. 15/15 (1 CC/Co; 14 OTH) Unclear
 Des Jarlais, 2013 [28] P: PWID in low-and middle income and transitional countries (LMICs)
I: NSP
C: any
O: changes in prevalence or incidence of HIV, HCV, HIV/ HCV co-infection or
changes over time in newly reported HIV or HCV cases of infection
S: any
2011 EMBASE, NLM Gateway, PubMed, Web of Science (4) None 13/13 (13 OTH) High
 Hong and Li, 2009 [31] P: People with HIV/ AIDS in China
I: Any behavioural intervention
C: Any
O: Rate of needle-sharing
S: Any
2008 AIDSLine, EBSCO, FirstSearch, PsycINFO, PubMed (4) None 25/3 (1 RCT; 1 CC/Co; 1 OTH) High
 Jones, 2008 [12] P: PWID
I: NSP
C: any
O: IRB, HIV, HVC
S: RCT, controlled non-randomised studies, controlled and uncontrolled before and after studies, cross-sectional studies, cohort studies, case-control studies and ecological studies
2008 ACP Journal Club, ASSIA, CINAHL, Cochrane Library,
EMBASE, EPPI-Centre databases, Health Information Management Consortium, IBSS, MEDLINE, National Research Register Archive, OpenSIGLE, Project CORK,
PsycINFO,
Sociological Abstracts,
SOMED (15)
Quality assessment tools developed by NICE Centre for Public Health Excellence, England and Wales and the Effective Public Health Practice Project, Canada 24/15 (2 RCT; 1 CC/Co; 12 OTH) Low
 Kall, 2007 [30] P: PWID
I: NSPs
C: control or comparison groups
O: HIV incidence or prevalence
S: any
2005 MEDLINE and PsyclNFO (2) None 16/16 (8 CC/Co; 8 OTH) High
 Wright, 2006 [33] P: PWID
I: primary prevention intervention targeting injecting drug use
C: any
O: HCV prevalence and incidence
S: intervention or observational studies
2003 Cochrane Library, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE and PsycINFO (4) Developed their own quality scale 18/12 (9 CC/Co; 3 OTH) High
 Tilson, 2006 [24] P: PWID
I: NSP
C: With and without OST; Placebo.
O: IRB, HCV and HIV
S: NR
2006 Cochrane Library, Grey Literature Report, EMBASE, PubMed,
PsycINFO, Social Science
Abstracts, Web of Science, WorldCat (8)
GRADE 45/43 (28 CC/Co; 15 OTH) Unclear
 Gibson, 2001 [35] P:PWID
I:NSP
C: any
O:HIV, HBV, HCV and IRB
S:any
1999 Medline and PsycINFO (2) None 42/32 (19 CC/Co; 13 OTH) High
 Leonard, 1999 [25] P: PWID
I: NSP
C: Any comparator group (but none was not allowed)
O: HIV, HCV and IRB
S: NR
1999 AIDSLINE, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, EMBASE, MEDLINE, PHEffect (6) Quality assessment tools developed by the Effective Public Health Practice Project team, Canada 21/19 (15 CC/Co; 4 OTH) Unclear
  1. aCategorized by type of synthesis and listed by publication date
  2. bPICOS: acronym for Population, Intervention, Comparator, Outcome and Study Design
  3. cClassified by authors of the review
  4. dCC/Co: Case-Control/Cohort; RCT: Randomized Control Trial; OTH: other (time-series designs, before-after studies, ecological studies)