Do Needle Exchange Programs Reduce the Spread of AIDS





Intravenous drug use has become the most important factor in the spread of AIDS in the U.S. In attempt to combat the AIDS epidemic, some needle exchange programs have been implemented in order to provide free, sterile needles to intravenous drug users for the prevention of needle sharing. Despite the ongoing controversy of whether they actually reduce the spread of AIDS, many programs are continually operating with hopes of success. Reasons why I think needle-exchange programs are successful stem from what I have learned about drugs through education. The most obvious reason is that when a user is able to obtain a fresh needle, at least the first time they use it they are assured protection from AIDS which in turn saves a life. In my opinion, the programs that require a needle for a needle are better because they may possibly be collecting an infected one which prevents another user from obtaining it. Likewise, the purpose of the program has been fulfilled and perhaps may help to prevent at least a few more people from contracting the deadly virus. Also, research comparing the U.S. with other countries shows that countries that have needle exchange programs and less strict laws concerning drug paraphernalia usually have a lower incidence of AIDS; not to say there is a direct correlation, but perhaps something to consider. On the other hand, for most goods there is always a bad. In this case, the only true negative aspect of these types of programs is that it somewhat contradicts society\'s message that drug use is illegal and morally wrong. Some think it has an implied encouragement for drug use, but that is not true because if someone is going to use, they will find whatever is available, whether it is clean or contaminated. Above all, I do not condone drug use, but I do support users that are going to shoot up at least being able to do it right with needle exchange programs.



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