Syringe access is a public health measure and an integral part of comprehensive HIV and Hepatitis prevention. It plays an important role in:
Primary Disease Prevention
Access to injection supplies decreases the need of an individual to use the supplies of others. Sharing generally occurs because there aren't enough clean syringes/supplies to go around. Most injection drug users are aware of the risks of re-using equipment. Their challenge is obtaining and possessing adequate clean supplies.
Secondary Disease Prevention
When an injection drug user is protected from bloodborne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, their sexual partners and children are protected as well.
We are all affected - directly or indirectly - by the spread of HIV and Hepatitis. Syringe access protects everyone.
Syringe access points usually incorporate community outreach, prevention education, advocacy and a variety of health services into their programs. This creates a link to HIV and Hepatitis testing, Hepatitis A & B vaccinations, referrals to treatment and other necessary services. (The serious lack of treatment spaces available make these services even more important.)
These access points, whether they are syringe exchange programs, pharmacies, or other programs, provide a link between drug users and the community at large. In particular, syringe exchange programs have demonstrated an ability to build trusting relationships with persons who inject, often leading to the opportunity for a wide variety of services.
Syringe exchanges provide a safe means of disposal for used syringes - a benefit to both the participant and the larger community.
Finally, syringe access points are cost-effective - far less than the costs of treating an HIV or Hepatitis-infected individual.
Syringe Access Makes Sense! The Time Is Now!
Home ~ Introduction ~ About Links ~ Links to News Archive