To the Editor.
—Despite scientific and meta-analytical studies supportive of needle and syringe exchanges as an HIV risk reduction strategy,1 opposition to such programs remains. The recent JAMA article by Watters et al2 is important in demonstrating to needle-exchange opponents that such programs do not undermine drug abuse prevention efforts while slowing the spread of HIV. Their conclusions are seconded by results from the legal NEP that has been operating in New Haven, Conn, since November 1990. In New Haven, the needle exchange operates as a mobile, neighborhood-based program in which individuals receive new syringes for old, supplies for safer injection, condoms, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) transmission and HIV testing information, and encouragement to enter drug treatment.Our evaluation reveals that the program actually hastens the entry of current IDUs into treatment without encouraging new IDUs as it decreases the transmission of HIV. During the initial 7.5 months
Heimer R, Lopes M. Syringe and Needle Exchange to Prevent HIV Infection. JAMA. 1994;271(23):1825-1826. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510470029018