Study: Syringe Services Program Led to Reduction of Injection-Related HIV Risk Behaviors

June 29th 2018
Jenna Payesko
Jenna Payesko

A recent study found that rapid reduction of injection-related HIV risk behaviors among persons who inject drugs in nonurban areas post-syringe services program implementation emphasizes the need for harm reduction interventions that include access to syringes.

A recent study found that rapid reduction of injection-related HIV risk behaviors among persons who inject drugs (PWID) in nonurban areas post-syringe services program (SSP) implementation emphasizes the need for harm reduction interventions that include access to syringes and sterile injection equipment, in addition to comprehensive HIV prevention services.

Researchers investigated the late 2014 HIV outbreak in Scott County, Indiana, which was the largest outbreak among PWID in a nonurban setting in the United States with 181 HIV infections diagnosed. The SSP resulted in a rapid reduction in injection-related risk behaviors, including an 88% reduction in syringe sharing, a 79% reduction in syringe sharing to divide drugs and an 81% reduction in sharing of other injection equipment, findings that are consistent with SSPs implemented in nonoutbreak settings.

“In Scott County, this has been a really effective model for getting people who are ready for treatment into an effective treatment program, and more than 200 individuals have enrolled in treatment since it was initiated,” Joan Duwve, MD, MPH, Associate Dean for Practice, IU Fairbanks School of Public Health, told

“When the community also participates by offering meals, clothing, support groups and other services needed, the added effect is considerable. People with substance use disorder are often stigmatized and living on the fringes of society. These programs send the message that their lives have value, and help lead them toward recovery.”

MD Mag.

The program was initially implemented on an emergency basis in order to combat the outbreak, which was the first time a program of this nature was tried in a nonurban area.

The full article is available atMDmag.com.

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