Over the years, we have posted whatever data we could find about the effectiveness of Syringe Exchange Programs (SEP’s) in reducing HIV rates among people who might otherwise share needles. Previous data has suggested that for every 30,000 syringes exchanged, 3 lives were saved by averting exposure to HIV. SEP’s clearly have other health benefits too, since sharing or reusing syringes can be harmful to health for reasons other than the transmission of blood borne pathogens.
This week at the International AIDS Conference, we saw evidence that these programs may do more than save a limited number of lives; they may all but eliminate HIV infections among people who use injection drugs! New York City and Amsterdam are listed as cities which have seen dramatic decreases in new HIV infection rates for injection drug users because of robust SEP’s.
Vermont CARES is proud to operate a busy and growing syringe exchange out of our St. Johnsbury office. More information can be found here: http://www.vtcares.org/stopspread/syringhow.html
More information, and source material, on this story here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/07/24/157283038/needle-exchanges-often-overlooked-in-aids-fight