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Needle Exchange Programs

Sharing injecting equipment is a major risk factor for contracting blood-borne viruses, notably human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C. Needle exchange programs (NEP), also called needle syringe programs, provide clean injecting equipment as well as the opportunity for safer use interventions. The goal of NEP is to reduce the spread of infectious diseases (HIV, hepatitis), with secondary goals to: increase access to harm reduction support services and treatment services; provide information and advice about safer injecting drug use (and safer sexual practices); and make contact with hidden populations. NEP services also decrease the circulation time of syringes, thereby reducing the potential for re-use and hence infection.

NEP programs come in a number of forms: those associated with drug treatment services, those in outreach settings, fixed ...

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