Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – Syringe Exchange

The USA’s Centre for Disease Control (CDC) publishes the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) and it’s published some interesting data on syringe exchange. The abstract:

“Syringe exchange programs (SEPs) provide free sterile syringes in exchange for used syringes to reduce transmission of bloodborne pathogens among injection-drug users (IDUs). SEPs in the United States began as a way to prevent the spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other bloodborne infections such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that persons who continue to inject drugs use a new, sterile syringe for each injection. Monitoring syringe exchange activity is an important part of assessing HIV prevention measures in the United States. As of November 2007, a total of 185 SEPs were operating in 36 states, the District of Columbia (DC), and Puerto Rico. This report summarizes a survey of SEP activities in the United States during 2005 and compares the findings with previous SEP surveys.

The findings indicated an increase in overall funding for SEPs, including an increase in public funding, and a stabilization in both the number of SEPs operating and the number of syringes exchanged since 2004. This report also documents an expansion of services offered by SEPs, a trend that resulted from an increase in state and local funding. These expanded services are helping protect IDUs and their communities from the spread of bloodborne pathogens and are providing access to health services
for a population at high risk. Monitoring of syringe exchange activity should continue.”