After a recent HIV outbreak recently hit Indiana, it became apparent that swift action towards reducing the risks of contamination is of the utmost importance. Since one of the most common means of contamination with HIV is through needle sharing, introducing needle exchange programs became extremely important.
A needle exchange program implies that people bring in the needles that they have used to inject various substances, so that these could be properly disposed of, in accordance to the official regulation on the matter. By bringing the used needles in, it is ensured that no other people use them and therefore, no other people can get contaminated with whatever pathogens might be present on the needle.
In exchange for the use needles, the people who bring them in get new sterile needles that they can use, so that they don’t have to share anybody’s needles anymore. People can come in as frequently as they want and they can bring in as many needles as they want. Furthermore, they do not have to fear judgement or legal consequences, as needle exchange points are safe places.
The people who work in the needle exchange points are there to offer guidance to those who need it, but will not impose their views on those who come in. This has actually been proven to be quite an efficient method of getting people to enroll themselves in rehabilitation programs, given the fact that people seem to ask for help themselves if they get to trust the person who they communicate with.The employees of the needle exchange units work alongside rehabilitation facilities and can easily refer those who come in to specialists, so that they can get the help that they need.
The main concern of those who oppose needle exchange programs is that they actually encourage substance abuse. While it might initially seem that way, when both the positive and negative aspects of this particular measure are taken into consideration, it becomes apparent that the beneficial effects of the method greatly outweigh the negative ones and that the rate of contamination following injecting various substances was significantly lowered by making this small adjustment.
Simply taking the decision to exchange the used needles for clean ones is actually able to make people acknowledge that they have a problem to solve and going to these exchange units just might be the perfect means of them finding their way towards taking the first step to solving the problem.
Image Source: aidstanzania.files.wordpress.com