Syringe Services Programs
Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) are a public health strategy for persons who inject drugs (PWID). SSPs aim to reduce PWID’s risk of getting and transmitting HIV, viral hepatitis, and other blood-borne infections by using new or sterile injection equipment for each injection.
About Syringe Services Programs
Syringe Services Programs (SSPs) are associated with an estimated 50% reduction in HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) incidence. When combined with medications that treat opioid dependence (also known as medication-assisted treatment), HIV and HCV transmission is reduced by over two-thirds, according to research.
SSPs serve as a bridge to other health services, including HIV and HCV testing and treatment and medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder.
In some jurisdictions, PWID can access sterile needles and syringes and other injection paraphernalia through SSPs and through pharmacies without a prescription.
SSPs can also prevent overdose by teaching people how to recognize, respond to, and reverse a drug overdose (e.g., naxolone). Many SSPs distribute naloxone to clients along with other harm reduction measures.
SSPs have partnered with law enforcement, providing naloxone to local police departments to help them respond and prevent death when someone has overdosed. SSPs also protect first responders and the public by providing safe needle disposal and reducing the presence of discarded needles in the community.
- Prevent transmission of blood-borne infections.
- Reduce or stop substance use.
- Prevent overdose deaths.
- Reduce publicly discarded needles.
- Increase HIV/STD treatment initiation and retention.
Strategy Essential Elements
- Provide onsite access to and disposal of syringes and injection equipment.
- Provide onsite vaccination and testing services.
- Offer referrals to medicated-assisted treatment, medical and psychosocial care, food, housing, and other services.
- Provide onsite wound care and safer injection instruction.
- Provide onsite sexual HIV/STD prevention (e.g. condoms, lubricant, PrEP).
CDC supports the organization of face-to-face and online training institutes to discuss issues in terms of harm reduction, implementation of SSPs, and other technical assistance. Technical assistance for SSP implementation is available.
To request technical assistance:
- CDC’s directly funded health department and CBO partners may request technical assistance by submitting a request in the CBA Tracking System.
- Organizations not directly funded by CDC may contact their local health department for assistance in submitting a request.
If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact DHAPCBB@cdc.gov.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has information and program guidance on SSPs.
- Syringe Services Programs (SSPs)
- Summary of Information on The Safety and Effectiveness of Syringe Services Programs (SSPs)
- Determination of Need for Syringe Services Programs
- Federal Funding for Syringe Services Programs
- Syringe Services Program Toolkitpdf icon
- Peer-Delivered Syringe Exchange Toolkitexternal icon
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