Substance use & misuse 2017 05 3052(9) 1151-1159 doi 10.1080/10826084.2017.1299182
While there is substantial evidence that syringe exchange programs (SEPs) are effective in preventing HIV among people who inject drugs (PWID), nearly all the evidence comes from PWID who obtain syringes from an SEP directly. Much less is known about the benefits of secondary exchange to PWID who get syringes indirectly from friends or acquaintances who visit an SEP for them.
We evaluated the effectiveness of direct versus indirect syringe exchange in reducing HIV-related high-risk injecting behavior among PWID in two separate studies conducted in Sacramento and San Jose, California, cities with quite different syringe exchange models.
In both studies associations between direct and indirect syringe exchange and self-reported risk behavior were examined with multivariable logistic regression models. Study 1 assessed effects of a "satellite" home-delivery syringe exchange in Sacramento, while Study 2 evaluated a conventional fixed-site exchange in San Jose.
Multivariable analyses revealed 95% and 69% reductions, respectively, in high-risk injection associated with direct use of the SEPs in Sacramento and San Jose, and a 46% reduction associated with indirect use of the SEP in Sacramento. Conclusions/Importance: The very large effect of direct SEP use in Sacramento was likely due in part to home delivery of sterile syringes. While more modest effects were associated with indirect use, such use nevertheless is valuable in reducing the risk of HIV transmission of PWID who are unable or unwilling to visit a syringe exchange.