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Health Agencies Update
January 24/31, 2017

CDC Says More Needle Exchange Programs Needed to Prevent HIV

JAMA. 2017;317(4):350. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19452

Calling the sharing of drug needles “a horrifyingly efficient route for spreading HIV, hepatitis, and other infections,” Tom Frieden, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and colleagues urged state and local health departments to improve access to so-called syringe services programs (SSPs) in a public telebriefing on November 30.

The briefing presented data from a new CDC Vital Signs report on HIV diagnosis, risk behavior, and prevention trends among injection drug users in 22 large cities with a high number of HIV cases. The report found that although the use of SSPs among people who inject drugs increased from 36% in 2005 to 54% in 2015, only 1 in 4 injection drug users obtains all needles and syringes from sterile sources. White people, who now represent more than 50% of new people who inject drugs, have the highest rate of syringe sharing.