The Effect of Syringe Exchange Use on High-Risk Injection Drug Users: A Cohort Study

by Ricky N. Bluthenthal, Alex H. Kral, Lauren Gee, Elizabeth A. Erringer, Brian R. Edlin

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Between 1992 and 1996, the authors interviewed a group of street-recruited injection drug users who reported syringe sharing at the first interview. The users were given HIV testing and counseling semi-annually. At a six-month follow-up interview, 60% reported quitting syringe sharing. Statistical analysis showed that high-risk drug users and those who continued to use the syringe exchange program were more likely to quit sharing syringes compared with non-syringe exchange users. The authors conclude that initiation and continuation of syringe exchange program use among high-risk drug users is independently associated with cessation of syringe sharing. Syringe exchange program use can be an important component in reducing the spread of blood-borne diseases among high-risk injection drug users.

Originally published in: AIDS, v. 14, no. 5, 2000, pp. 605-611.

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