Needle Exchange Programs:

Research Suggests Promise as an AIDS Prevention Strategy

HRD-93-60: Published: Mar 23, 1993. Publicly Released: Apr 1, 1993.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed needle exchange programs' effectiveness in reducing the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), focusing on: (1) the success of domestic and international needle exchange programs; (2) the credibility of a Yale University forecasting model that estimates the impact of needle exchange programs on the spread of HIV; and (3) whether federal funds could be allocated for needle exchange program studies and demonstrations.

GAO found that: (1) six of the nine needle exchange projects examined provided information on the rate of needle sharing, prevalence of injection drug use, and frequency of injection; (2) two projects indicated that needle exchange programs were associated with reduced needle sharing among intravenous drug users, while one project reported an increase in needle sharing; (3) five projects reported no evidence of increased drug use because of greater needle availability; (4) seven projects reported successes in referring intravenous drug users to drug treatment and other health services, but not all drug users were able to obtain treatment; (5) the Yale University forecasting model, which claimed that needle exchange programs could reduce HIV transmissions by about 33 percent, was credible, technically sound, and reasonable; (6) the reduction in HIV transmissions stemmed from the program's ability to lessen the opportunity for needles to become infected, shared, or infect uninfected drug users; (7) the Yale University model relied on a data collection system that monitored the amount of needles distributed and returned, identified the drug user and needle exchanges, and analyzed residual blood in returned needles for HIV infection; and (8) Congress has specifically restricted the use of appropriated funds for needle exchange programs, but GAO believes that federal funds could be used for needle exchange studies and demonstrations.

Oct 6, 2014

Oct 2, 2014

Sep 29, 2014

Sep 23, 2014

Sep 18, 2014

Sep 16, 2014

Sep 9, 2014

Sep 8, 2014

Looking for more? Browse all our products here