The Needle Exchange Program
The needle exchange program is very vital, and throughout this paper I will discuss the pros and cons about the program and I will discuss the reasons surrounding why the program was started. AIDS has been a growing epidemic through the 1990’s and it was estimated by the World Health Organization that the number of people infected with HIV or AIDS would reach thirty to forty million individuals by the year 2000 if nothing was done (Health and Disease). In Africa and parts of Asia, heterosexual sex was the primary factor in the spread of HIV, but in the United States and Europe, intravenous drug use was one of the leading factors in the spread of HIV/AIDS. The government decided that something needed to be done, so they created AIDS education programs, and they put into operation the use of needle exchange programs to help reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS.
The needle exchange facilities provide access to sterile syringes and other injection equipment such as swabs and sterile water to reduce the risk of other blood borne infections. Needle exchanges usually only distribute the same number of syringes that they receive from the individual, while other facilities may have a lower return rate or not require any return of used needles at all (Health and Disease). But I wondered about the percentage of people who don’t have access to such facilities, so I interviewed a woman working at a needle exchange facility in Tacoma about that specific percentage of people. Tina told me, “This facility in particular provides a high number of sterile syringes to a single user so they in turn can distribute them among other addicts who don’t have access to our programs or facilities.” Along with exchanging needles and providing other injection equipment, facilities can also provide users with ways to learn about safe injection practices, equipment disposal, safer sex education, and referral to treatment (Stephans Interview). The World Health...
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