Needle-Exchange Programs Could Prevent HIV Outbreaks, Experts Say

TIME

Offering programs that allow injection drug users to receive clean needles in a bid to avoid reuse and sharing could be one way to combat HIV outbreaks like the one in rural Indiana, two researchers argue in a paper released Wednesday.

In a new commentary published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Chris Beyrer, a Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health professor, and Steffanie Strathdee, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of California, San Diego, argue that Congress should immediately lift a ban on federal funding for needle-exchange programs.

As of June 10, 169 people living in Scott County, Indiana, had been diagnosed with HIV and more than 80% of them also had hepatitis C. The spread was traced to residents dissolving prescription painkillers and then injecting themselves. As TIME reported in June, some of the residents injected themselves up to 20…

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