MAKING INJECTING SAFER
The facts couldn't be clearer: Each year, over 8,000 people are newly infected with HIV, and over 15,000
people are newly infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), due to syringe and equipment sharing.
If you're shooting drugs, there are some basic steps you can follow to protect yourself from HIV and HCV.
If you're infected with either of these viruses, the same steps should be followed to help prevent the
spread of these infections to others.
• Use New Needles and Equipment. The most effective way to prevent infection with HIV and HCV is to
use a new syringe and sterile equipment-including cotton, filters, caps, spoons, cookers and alcohol
swabs-every time you prepare your hit. Pharmacies in several states now allow people to buy new
syringes without a prescription. There are also syringe exchange programs—organizations that collect
used needles and shooting paraphernalia in exchange for new syringes and equipment. There are nearly
200 syringe exchange programs operating in 38 states.
To learn more about these programs, please click HERE.
• Clean Your Syringes and Works. If you don't have access to new, sterile needles, it is important to
clean your (or someone else's) syringe with bleach and clean water before sharing it. To do this, draw
water into the syringe and tap or shake it for 30 seconds to loosen any blood. Shoot the water out of the
syringe, through the needle, and repeat until the water runs clear. Then draw bleach up into the syringe,
tap or shake it for at least 30 seconds, and then shoot it out. (the cooker should be soaked in bleach as
well). Rinse the syringe with clean water by drawing water into the syringe and tap or shake it for 30
seconds, and then shoot it out. The cooker should be cleaned as well. See below.
While this cleansing method helps to kill HIV, it is not known how well it reduces the risk of transmitting
HCV and hepatitis B virus (HBV), viruses that are harder to kill.
• Don't Share. Avoid sharing, lending or borrowing syringes, needles or works. What's more, you
shouldn't handle or hold other people's works and don't let them touch yours—shoot your own drugs.
If you are interested in getting clean and sober, please visit: Narcotics Anonymous.
Copyright © 2011. The Friends of AIDS Foundation. All Rights Reserved.
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MAKING INJECTING SAFER