The Washington Needle Depot: fitting healthcare to injection drug users rather than injection drug users to healthcare: moving from a syringe exchange to syringe distribution model.
ABSTRACT: Needle exchange programs chase political as well as epidemiological dragons, carrying within them both implicit moral and political goals. In the exchange model of syringe distribution, injection drug users (IDUs) must provide used needles in order to receive new needles. Distribution and retrieval are co-existent in the exchange model. Likewise, limitations on how many needles can be received at a time compel addicts to have multiple points of contact with professionals where the virtues of treatment and detox are impressed upon them. The centre of gravity for syringe distribution programs needs to shift from needle exchange to needle distribution, which provides unlimited access to syringes. This paper provides a case study of the Washington Needle Depot, a program operating under the syringe distribution model, showing that the distribution and retrieval of syringes can be separated with effective results. Further, the experience of IDUs is utilized, through paid employment, to provide a vulnerable population of people with clean syringes to prevent HIV and HCV.
Project description:The HIV epidemic in Russia is concentrated among injection drug users (IDUs). This is especially true for St. Petersburg where high HIV incidence persists among the city's estimated 80,000 IDUs. Although sterile syringes are legally available, access for IDUs may be hampered. To explore the feasibility of using pharmacies to expand syringe access and provide other prevention services to IDUs, we investigated the current access to sterile syringes at the pharmacies and the correlation between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence in St. Petersburg.965 pharmacies citywide were mapped, classified by ownership type, and the association between pharmacy density and HIV prevalence at the district level was tested. We selected two districts among the 18 districts--one central and one peripheral--that represented two major types of city districts and contacted all operating pharmacies by phone to inquire if they stocked syringes and obtained details about their stock. Qualitative interviews with 26 IDUs provided data regarding syringe access in pharmacies and were used to formulate hypotheses for the pharmacy syringe purchase test wherein research staff attempted to purchase syringes in all pharmacies in the two districts.No correlation was found between the density of pharmacies and HIV prevalence at the district level. Of 108 operating pharmacies, 38 (35%) did not sell syringes of the types used by IDUs; of these, half stocked but refused to sell syringes to research staff, and the other half did not stock syringes at all. Overall 70 (65%) of the pharmacies did sell syringes; of these, 49 pharmacies sold single syringes without any restrictions and 21 offered packages of ten.Trainings for pharmacists need to be conducted to reduce negative attitudes towards IDUs and increase pharmacists' willingness to sell syringes. At a structural level, access to safe injection supplies for IDUs could be increased by including syringes in the federal list of mandatory medical products sold by pharmacies.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Many people who inject drugs (PWID) use syringes with detachable needles, which have high dead space (HDS). Contaminated HDS blood may substantially contribute to the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C (HCV), and other blood-borne viruses within this population. Newly designed low dead space (LDS) syringe-needle combinations seek to reduce blood-borne virus transmission among PWID. We evaluated the infectivity of HCV-contaminated residual volumes recovered from two LDS syringe-needle combinations.<h4>Methods</h4>We tested two different design approaches to reducing the dead space. One added a piston to the plunger; the other reduced the dead space within the needle. The two approaches cannot be combined. Recovery of genotype-2a reporter HCV from LDS syringe-needle combinations was compared to recovery from insulin syringes with fixed needles and standard HDS syringe-needle combinations. Recovery of HCV from syringes was determined immediately following their contamination with HCV-spiked plasma, after storage at 22°C for up to 1 week, or after rinsing with water.<h4>Results</h4>Insulin syringes with fixed needles had the lowest proportion of HCV-positive syringes before and after storage. HCV recovery after immediate use ranged from 47%±4% HCV-positive 1 mL insulin syringes with 27-gauge ½ inch needles to 98%±1% HCV-positive HDS 2 mL syringes with 23-gauge 1¼ inch detachable needles. LDS combinations yielded recoveries ranging from 65%±5% to 93%±3%. Recovery was lower in combinations containing LDS needles than LDS syringes. After 3 days of storage, as much as 6-fold differences in virus recovery was observed, with HCV recovery being lower in combinations containing LDS needles. Most combinations with detachable needles required multiple rinses to reduce HCV infectivity to undetectable levels whereas a single rinse of insulin syringes was sufficient.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our study, the first to assess the infectivity of HCV in residual volumes of LDS syringes and needles available to PWID, demonstrates that LDS syringe-needle combination still has the greater potential for HCV transmission than insulin syringes with fixed needles. Improved LDS designs may be able to further reduce HCV recovery, but based on the designed tested, LDS needles and syringes remain intermediate between fixed-needle syringes and HDS combinations in reducing exposure to HCV.
Project description:OBJECTIVES:California Senate Bill 41 (SB41), effective January 2012, is a human immunodeficiency virus/hepatitis C virus prevention measure designed to expand syringe access among injection drug users (IDUs) by allowing pharmacies to sell syringes without a prescription. This study assesses self-reported implementation of SB41 and characterizes barriers amenable to intervention. DESIGN:Interviewer-administered survey. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS:Fresno and Kern Counties, CA. Pharmacists and other pharmacy staff (n = 404) at 212 pharmacies. OUTCOME MEASURE:Self-reported nonprescription pharmacy sales to known or suspected IDUs. RESULTS:Overall, 29.3% of participants said their pharmacy would sell nonprescription syringes to a known or suspected IDU, whereas a far higher proportion (79.3%) would sell nonprescription syringes to a person with diabetes. More than one-half said that their pharmacy requires nonprescription syringe purchasers to enter their signature and name and address in a log book although that is not required under SB41. Fewer than 2 out of 3 participants (61.1%) knew that it is legal to sell nonprescription syringes to IDUs. That knowledge, as well as having syringe sales practices based on both store policy and discretion, were positively associated with IDU syringe sales after controlling for other factors. Working at an independent pharmacy, agreeing that only people with "medical conditions" such as diabetes should be able to buy syringes, and viewing syringe sales to IDUs as "not good business" were independently but negatively associated with IDU syringe sales. CONCLUSION:This study complements an earlier syringe purchase trial documenting low participation in voluntary nonprescription syringe sales under SB41 in Fresno and Kern Counties. In the absence of legislation requiring mandatory syringe sales, interventions should be developed to increase knowledge of the law and frame addiction as a medical condition, with a special focus on independent pharmacies. Informational interventions should stress the need to eliminate log book documentation requirements, which may serve as a barrier to IDU purchase.
Project description:Syringes are used for diagnostic fluid aspiration and fine-needle aspiration biopsy in interventional procedures. We determined the benefits, disadvantages, and patient safety implications of syringe and needle size on vacuum generation, hand force requirements, biopsy/fluid yield, and needle control during aspiration procedures.Different sizes (1, 3, 5, 10, and 20 ml) of the conventional syringe and aspirating mechanical safety syringe, the reciprocating procedure device, were studied. Twenty operators performed aspiration procedures with the following outcomes measured: (1) vacuum (torr), (2) time to vacuum (s), (3) hand force to generate vacuum (torr-cm2), (4) operator difficulty during aspiration, (5) biopsy yield (mg), and (6) operator control of the needle tip position (mm).Vacuum increased tissue biopsy yield at all needle diameters (P<0.002). Twenty-milliliter syringes achieved a vacuum of -517 torr but required far more strength to aspirate, and resulted in significant loss of needle control (P<0.002). The 10-ml syringe generated only 15% less vacuum (-435 torr) than the 20-ml device and required much less hand strength. The mechanical syringe generated identical vacuum at all syringe sizes with less hand force (P<0.002) and provided significantly enhanced needle control (P<0.002).To optimize patient safety and control of the needle, and to maximize fluid and tissue yield during aspiration procedures, a two-handed technique and the smallest syringe size adequate for the procedure should be used. If precise needle control or one-handed operation is required, a mechanical safety syringe should be considered.
Project description:We evaluated brief combination interventions to simultaneously reduce sexual and injection risks among female sex workers who inject drugs (FSW-IDUs) in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico during 2008-2010, when harm reduction coverage was expanding rapidly in Tijuana, but less so in Juarez.FSW-IDUs ?18 years reporting sharing injection equipment and unprotected sex with clients within the last month participated in a randomized factorial trial comparing four brief, single-session conditions combining either an interactive or didactic version of a sexual risk intervention to promote safer sex in the context of drug use, and an injection risk intervention to reduce sharing of needles/injection paraphernalia. Women underwent quarterly interviews and testing for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Trichomonas, blinding interviewers and assessors to assignment. Poisson regression with robust variance estimation and repeated measures ordinal logistic regression examined effects on combined HIV/STI incidence and receptive needle sharing frequency.Of 584 initially HIV-negative FSW-IDUs, retention was ?90%. After 12 months, HIV/STI incidence decreased >50% in the interactive vs. didactic sex intervention (Tijuana:AdjRR:0.38,95% CI:0.16-0.89; Juarez: AdjRR:0.44,95% CI:0.19-0.99). In Juarez, women receiving interactive vs. didactic injection risk interventions decreased receptive needle-sharing by 85% vs. 71%, respectively (p?=?0.04); in Tijuana, receptive needle sharing declined by 95%, but was similar in active versus didactic groups. Tijuana women reported significant increases in access to syringes and condoms, but Juarez women did not.After 12 months in both cities, the interactive sexual risk intervention significantly reduced HIV/STI incidence. Expanding free access to sterile syringes coupled with brief, didactic education on safer injection was necessary and sufficient for achieving robust, sustained injection risk reductions in Tijuana. In the absence of expanding syringe access in Juarez, the injection risk intervention achieved significant, albeit more modest reductions, suggesting that community-level interventions incorporating harm reduction are more powerful than individual-level interventions.clinicaltrials.gov NCT00840658.
Project description:To examine whether increasing investment in needle/syringe exchange programs (NSPs) in the US would be cost-effective for HIV prevention, we modeled HIV incidence in hypothetical cases with higher NSP syringe supply than current levels, and estimated number of infections averted, cost per infection averted, treatment costs saved, and financial return on investment. We modified Pinkerton's model, which was an adaptation of Kaplan's simplified needle circulation theory model, to compare different syringe supply levels, account for syringes from non-NSP sources, and reflect reduction in syringe sharing and contamination. With an annual $10 to $50 million funding increase, 194-816 HIV infections would be averted (cost per infection averted $51,601-$61,302). Contrasted with HIV treatment cost savings alone, the rate of financial return on investment would be 7.58-6.38. Main and sensitivity analyses strongly suggest that it would be cost-saving for the US to invest in syringe exchange expansion.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:From 2011 to 2013, the Global Fund (GF) supported needle and syringe programmes in Mexico to prevent transmission of HIV among people who inject drugs. It remains unclear how GF withdrawal affected the costs, quality and coverage of needle and syringe programme provision. DESIGN:Costing study and longitudinal cohort study. SETTING:Tijuana, Mexico. PARTICIPANTS:Personnel from a local needle and syringe programme (n=6) and people who inject drugs (n=734) participating in a longitudinal study. PRIMARY OUTCOME MEASURES:Provision of needle and syringe programme services and cost (per contact and per syringe distributed, in 2017 $USD) during GF support (2012) and after withdrawal (2015/16). An additional outcome included needle and syringe programme utilisation from a concurrent cohort of people who inject drugs during and after GF withdrawal. RESULTS:During the GF period, the needle and syringe programme distributed 55?920 syringes to 932 contacts (60 syringes/contact) across 14 geographical locations. After GF withdrew, the needle and syringe programme distributed 10?700 syringes to 2140 contacts (five syringes/contact) across three geographical locations. During the GF period, the cost per harm reduction contact was approximately 10-fold higher compared with after GF ($44.72 vs $3.81); however, the cost per syringe distributed was nearly equal ($0.75 vs $0.76) due to differences in syringes per contact and reductions in ancillary kit components. The mean log odds of accessing a needle and syringe programme in the post-GF period was significantly lower than during the GF period (p=0.02). CONCLUSIONS:Withdrawal of GF support for needle and syringe programme provision in Mexico was associated with a substantial drop in provision of sterile syringes, geographical coverage and recent clean syringe utilisation among people who inject drugs. Better planning is required to ensure harm reduction programme sustainability is at scale after donor withdrawal.
Project description:Injection drug use is prevalent in northwestern Bangladesh. We sought to explore the context of needle/syringe sharing among persons who inject drugs (PWID), examining risk exposures to blood-borne infections like the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis in a region where these dual epidemics are likely to expand.We used a qualitative research approach to learn about injection practices, conducting 60 in-depth interviews among PWID. We then conducted 12 focus group discussions (FGDs) that generated a checklist of salient issues, and followed up with personal observations of typical days at the drug-use venues. Content and interpretative frameworks were used to analyze qualitative information and socio-demographic information, using SPSS software.We found that needle/syringe-sharing behaviours were integrated into the overall social and cultural lives of drug users. Sharing behaviours were an central component of PWID social organization. Sharing was perceived as an inherent element within reciprocal relationships, and sharing was tied to beliefs about drug effects, economic adversity, and harassment due to their drug user status. Carrying used needles/syringes to drug-use venues was deemed essential since user-unfriendly needle-syringe distribution schedules of harm reduction programmes made it difficult to access clean needles/syringes in off-hours. PWID had low self-esteem. Unequal power relationships were reported between the field workers of harm reduction programmes and PWID. Field workers expressed anti-PWID bias and judgmental attitudes, and also had had misconceptions about HIV and hepatitis transmission. PWID were especially disturbed that no assistance was forthcoming from risk reduction programme staff when drug users manifested withdrawal symptoms.Interventions must take social context into account when scaling up programmes in diverse settings. The social organization of PWID include values that foster needle-syringe sharing. Utilization and impact of risk reduction programmes might be improved with expanded clean needle/syringe distribution at times and venues convenient for PWID, better trained and non-judgmental staff, and medical assistance for health problems, including drug withdrawal symptoms.
Project description:Objectives. We examined HIV prevalence and risk factors among injection drug users (IDUs) in Athens, Greece, during an HIV outbreak. Methods. We used respondent-driven sampling (RDS) to recruit 1404 IDUs to the Aristotle intervention in August to October 2012. We interviewed participants and tested for HIV. We performed bivariate and multivariate analyses. Results. Estimated HIV prevalence was 19.8% (RDS-weighted prevalence?=?14.8%). Odds of infection were 2.3 times as high in homeless as in housed IDUs and 2.1 times as high among IDUs who injected at least once per day as among less frequent injectors (both, P?<?.001). Six percent of men and 23.5% of women reported transactional sex in the past 12 months, and condom use was low. Intercourse with non-IDUs was common (53.2% of men, 25.6% of women). Among IDUs who had been injecting for 2 years or less the estimated incidence rate was 23.4 new HIV cases per 100 person-years at risk. Conclusions. Efforts to reduce HIV transmission should address homelessness as well as scaling up prevention services, such as needle and syringe distribution and other risk reduction interventions.
Project description:During January-April, 2000, 12 cases of acute hepatitis B were reported in Pierce County, Washington, compared with seven in all of 1999. Seven (58.3%) case patients were injection drug users (IDUs), three of whom were coinfected with hepatitis D virus (HDV) and died of fulminant hepatitis. Vaccination clinics were implemented at the local health department and needle exchange program to control the outbreak. We investigated this outbreak to determine risk factors for hepatitis B virus (HBV) transmission among IDUs. Hepatitis B cases were ascertained through routine surveillance and prevaccination testing at vaccination clinics. We conducted a case-control study comparing IDU case patients with HBV-susceptible IDUs identified at the vaccination clinics. Fifty-eight case patients were identified during January-December, 2000, 20 (34.5%) of whom were coinfected with HDV. Thirty-eight case patients (65.5%) reported current IDU. In the case-control study, the 17 case patients were more likely than the 141 controls to report having more than one sex partner [odds ratio (OR) =4.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) =1.5-15.0], injecting more than four times a day (OR = 4.5, 95% CI =1.2-15.6) and sharing drug cookers with more than two people (58.8% vs. 14.0%, OR =14.0, 95% CI =2.4-81.5). Results were similar after controlling for syringe sharing in multivariable analysis. IDUs should be vaccinated against hepatitis B and should be advised against sharing drug injection equipment.