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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Archival Content: 1999-2005

Esta página en EspañolAccess to Sterile Syringes

These fact sheets focus on HIV prevention issues related to syringes:

Access to Sterile Syringes
(Ver Hoja Informativa)

If IDUs who continue to inject use a new sterile syringe for every drug injection, it can substantially reduce their risks of acquiring and transmitting blood-borne viral infections. (PDF)PDF Icon

State and Local Policies Regarding IDU's Access to Sterile Syringes
(Ver Hoja Informativa)

In many cities and states, laws and regulations make possession of syringes a crime and limit IDUs’ ability to legally purchase syringes. As a result, IDUs who continue to inject often cannot follow prevention advice to use a sterile syringe for every injection. Several states also have restricted the funding or operation of syringe exchange programs (SEPs). On the federal level, funding to carry out any program of distributing sterile needles or syringes to IDUs has been prohibited by Congress since 1988. (PDF)PDF Icon

Pharmacy Sales of Sterile Syringes
(Ver Hoja Informativa)

Increased pharmacy sales of sterile syringes can help reduce the risk of acquiring and transmitting blood-borne viruses among IDUs who continue to inject. (PDF)PDF Icon

Physician Prescription of Sterile Syringes to Injection Drug Users
(Ver Hoja Informativa)

Injection drug users (IDUs) who continue to inject can substantially reduce their risk of acquiring or transmitting HIV, hepatitis B and C, and other blood-borne infections if they use sterile syringes. Physician prescription of syringes is one way to improve IDUs' access to sterile injection equipment. It also can help IDUs obtain medical services and substance abuse treatment. (PDF)PDF Icon

Syringe Exchange Programs
(Ver Hoja Informativa)

In 1997, a Report to Congress concluded that needle exchange programs can be an effective component of a comprehensive strategy to prevent HIV and other blood-borne infectious diseases in communities that choose to include them. Federal funding to carry out any program of distributing sterile needles or syringes to IDUs has been prohibited by Congress since 1988. In addition, several states have restricted the funding or operation of syringe exchange programs (SEPs). (PDF)PDF Icon

Syringe Disposal
(Ver Hoja Informativa)

It is estimated that an individual IDU injects about 1,000 times a year and that persons with diabetes who use insulin inject once or twice a day. Providing community-based ways to safely dispose of used syringes is an important public health priority. (PDF)PDF Icon

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