WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

D.C. needle exchange program prevents 120 HIV cases in two years

D.C. needle exchange program prevents 120 HIV cases in two years. | Courtesy of sciencedaily.com
The needle exchange program in the District of Columbia has reportedly prevented 120 new HIV infection cases in just over two years.

In addition, the program has saved approximately $44 million in the same two years.

These figures were reported in a study from analysts at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University.

"Our study adds to the evidence that needle exchange programs not only work but are cost-effective investments in the battle against HIV," Monica S. Ruiz, Ph.D., MPH, an assistant research professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at Milken Institute SPH, said. "We saw a 70 percent drop in newly diagnosed HIV cases in just two years. At the same time, this program saved the District millions of dollars that would have been spent for treatment had those 120 persons been infected."

The understanding gained from the study will help policymakers make wise decisions in the ongoing debate about whether to support the programs with funding. The programs in question are those that give drug users sterile injection equipment.

"The lifting of the D.C. ban has prevented about 120 injection drug users from becoming infected in just two years," Ruiz said. "Furthermore, the D.C. needle exchange program continues to reduce the number of new cases of HIV among injection drug users in the city."

Further details have been published in AIDS and Behavior, a scientific journal.

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