July 16, 1997

Update: Syringe-Exchange Programs—United States, 1996

JAMA. 1997;278(3):197-198. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550030037017

AS OF December 1996, approximately one third (36%) of the 573000 cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among adults reported to CDC were directly or indirectly associated with injecting-drug use.1 Syringe-exchange programs (SEPs) are one of the strategies for preventing infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) among injecting-drug users (IDUs). The goal of SEPs is to reduce the transmission of HIV and other bloodborne infections associated with drug injection by providing sterile syringes in exchange for used, potentially contaminated syringes. This report summarizes a survey of U.S. SEPs regarding their activities during 1995 and 1996 and compares the findings with those during 1994 and early 1995.2 The findings indicate continued expansion in the number and activities of SEPs in the United States.*

In November 1996, the Beth Israel Medical Center (BIMC) in New York City, in collaboration with the North American Syringe Exchange