Needle Exchange Programs and the HIV Outbreak among Injection Drug Users in Vancouver, Canada: Addressing Some Common Misperceptions

The use of needle exchange programs (NEPs) has been associated with reductions in HIV infection in a number of settings. However, questions regarding NEP efficacy have persisted, and have been partially fuelled by misinterpretations of an early evaluation of NEP use and HIV prevalence in Vancouver, Canada. In this study, a higher HIV prevalence was found among those who reported using the NEP weekly compared to those who did not use the NEP weekly.

In recent years, a growing body of research into the Vancouver HIV epidemic has permitted a broader discussion of the Vancouver outbreak and the factors that contributed to it. Referring to this research, the effectiveness of NEP use for HIV prevention in Vancouver is addressed in this Q&A.

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