HFI Connect - Hepatitis
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Syringe-Exchange Programs Are Part of Effective HIV Prevention

When you think of the term "Syringe exchange", what do you imagine? Well, the answer is a part of a prevention program aiming to minimize HIV or hepatitis infection and spreading by injection drug users. There are multiple benefits such as reducing the transmission of HIV, HBV, HCV, and other infectious diseases.

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HIV is 1 in 300 infectious via syringe HCV 1 in 30 infectious and HBV 1 in 3 infectious via syringe.

However in the West we have allowed the 10% who criminally self inject drugs to over shadow the vast reality that about 80% of HCV that came from medical syringes and these are still busy doing more infecting. see hepbpositive.org.uk/hepatit... I find it important to remember that people who self inject are still getting HCV at 50% rates regardless of syringe exchange programmes. Bottom line addicts will use dirty needles because they are addicts and we must advise them that their is no safety from these infections if they have a habit. I am for syringe exchanges but against the notion self injecting can ever be safe or made non infectious which is being peddled by dealers using syringe exchange leaflets.

Further whenever I have been involved in Syringe campaigns I have a need to stress why self injecting is illegal. Basically 1 in 10,000 injections leads to anaphylaxis meaning death if you self inject. This sounds rare but when the average addict injects daily over a 4 year career the rate is a 1 in 10 level, pretty much Russian roulette with death. This is why so many addicts are found dead with needle in arm or next to them, it is not the drug but anaphylaxis, the last corpse we dealt with was my neighbour John who died in this way. This is why when we train people to take blood tests or inject HBV vaccinations etc we train them in administering adrenaline and CPR and for John and every other dead addict there is no one around to do these things. So let us never forget 50% infect and 10% die should be on every syringe exchange door.