The incidence rate of Hepatitis C infection, the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, has more than doubled since 2004 (Zibbell, 2018). The opioid crisis in the U.S. has largely contributed to this increase because shared needles among injection drug users is the primary factor in hepatitis C transmission.
Needle exchange programs allow drug users to safely exchange used needles for little or no cost. As of 2011, 211 needle exchange programs existed in the United States (Green, 2012) and many more have been implemented since then.
In your post, address the following questions:
· Are needle exchange programs effective at reducing blood-borne disease transmission?
· Should more state or federal government agencies set up needle exchange facilities to help combat blood borne diseases or do they encourage the use of drugs?
· Is there a better method to help combat blood borne diseases contracted through shared needles?
Zibbell, J. E., Asher, A. K., Patel, R. C., Kupronis, B., Iqbal, K., Ward, J. W., & Holtzman, D. (2018). Increases in Acute Hepatitis C Virus Infection Related to a Growing Opioid Epidemic and Associated Injection Drug Use, United States, 2004 to 2014. American Journal of Public Health, 108(2), 175-181.
Green, T. C., Martin, E. G., Bowman, S. E., Mann, M. R., & Beletsky, L. (2012). Life After the Ban: An Assessment of US Syringe Exchange Programs’ Attitudes About and Early Experiences With Federal Funding. American Journal of Public Health, 102(5), e9-e16. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300595
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