By Ana-Marija Dolaskie for American Council of Science and Health. A recent report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paints a clear picture: needle-exchange programs — under which addicts exchange dirty syringes for clean ones — prevent the transmission of HIV.
The report comes on the heels of an outbreak (more than 70 cases of viral contagion) earlier this year of IV-drug-induced HIV in Scott County, IN. That spurred Gov. Mike Pence to reverse his position on needle exchanges in the county. Now, according to the CDC, needle sharing has dramatically decreased since the program’s launch in April.
The CDC’s Monita Patel and colleagues examined data from 100 clients who visited the exchange site more than once between April and June. They found that needle sharing dropped by 85 percent, beginning with 34 clients who said they have shared used syringes, and ending with only five clients who reported sharing needles between those months.
Experts say Indiana’s outbreak has served as a warning to rural America and beyond.
Similarly, a recent ban reversal on funding needle-exchange programs in Washington, D.C. has had tremendous outcomes.
According to a recent study from George Washington University, the program, which started two years ago, prevented 120 new cases of HIV in the nation’s capital.