[15] Dirty Needles and HIV/AIDS by Anonymous

Catch-22

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Sharing needles spreads diseases. It may seem like everyone knows this, but apparently they don't because HIV continues to infect intravenous drug users every day. It's something so easily preventable, and yet it isn't being stopped in its tracks.

There are only two reasons I can think of for this. One is the lack of clean needles. In many places this may be the case. There are states where needles are only available by prescription, or needle exchange programs are forbidden, or don't have the resources to do what needs to be done.

This is tragic. There are things you can do to help change that. Write your politicians, volunteer your time to a needle exchange program in your area, and donate money. For more information on how you can promote needle exchange, along with other harm reduction strategies, visit Drug Policy Alliance.

If you are a user, in an area that does not sell needles without prescriptions, or where needle exchange programs are unavailable, you have several options.

One of those is the internet. There are a multitude of sites willing to ship those to you, some at very reasonable prices. A quick search on google.com should reveal those places quickly.

If for some reason, you can't have those shipped to you, or don't have the money to afford new needles, there is bleaching. This is much less effective than using a clean needle every time, but does significantly reduce the risk.

Bleaching a needle is fairly easy. The first step is to rinse both needle and syringe with cold water. Next, fill the needle and syringe with a strong concentration of bleach. Fill the cap, and place it on the needle. Shake for at least thirty seconds, longer is better. Squirt the bleach out and rinse with cold water again. Unfortunately, bleaching does not prevent hepatitis.

The other reason, mentioned above, is that users know, have methods for obtaining clean needles available, and choose not to use them through apathy, laziness or ignorance about the risks they are taking.

So, if you fall in that second category, stop for a moment and consider the chances your taking every single time you put a dirty needle into your vein. Intravenous drug users are the second highest risk category for contracting HIV. This means it is quite likely that the buddy you're shooting up with may have the virus.

If he does, the chances of transmission are again, quite likely. Blood is a better carrier of HIV than semen or vaginal fluid.

Catching HIV will cause you to suffer and die. It is not something to take lightly. You should be worried, and you should take every available measure to prevent yourself from catching it.

Obviously, the most successful would be to get treatment for your addiction. If that's something you're unwilling to do, then always use a clean needle. Always. No matter what. Needle Exchange programs in your area should be listed in the phone book and online.

Additional thoughts about HIV/AIDS by dr seuss (abridged)

AIDS means Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It is caused by a retrovirus, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which basically affects your immune system (the body's defense mechanism). This is the transmittable aspect – you can catch HIV from other people.

It does not necessarily lead to full-blown AIDS – lots of people live with HIV but do not contract AIDS for years. However, being HIV positive means that you are much more susceptible to all the minor bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses that we encounter during life. HIV leaves your body unable to defend itself from these various threats, and thus a common cold can be life threatening to an HIV sufferer.

There is no cure for AIDS – however, various drugs can reduce the damage to your immune system that HIV causes. Early diagnosis and treatment (even though most HIV sufferers remain asymptomatic for 10 years) can help extend a person’s life.

HIV is transmitted through the direct contact between an infected party's bodily fluids (such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk) and the bloodstream of another person. This can occur as a result of:
  • Unprotected sex (anal or vaginal)
  • Unprotected oral sex
  • Infection during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding
  • Sharing needles or syringes. This means all types of syringe – whether it is used for administering steroids, smack, blood tests or body piercings. Infectious HIV can survive for up to a month in used syringes.
Most people are aware of the various means by which AIDS can be contracted, and the methods we can use to prevent infection. Condoms, dental dams, clean needles, and if you're going to use a lube, make it a water-based one since oil or petroleum based lubes (e.g. Vaseline) render condoms useless. For IV drug users, the CDC has a relevant page on minimising the risk.

Bluelighters, please take precautions and please take it seriously as HIV really can happen to you. Please click here for a thread in The Dark Side that has much more information about HIV/AIDS.
 
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Catch-22

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Reminder: I am posting this essay on behalf of someone else. These comments are not an official policy statement. Whether you want to agree or disagree, please put your thoughts in this thread. Do not send me PM's or emails unless you are contributing a new essay of your own. Thanks!

Extra note: The first half of the above post was from an anonymous contributor. The second half is an abridged version of a post made by dr seuss that can be found in The Dark Side forum.
 

rm-rf

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i knew a group of a bout 10 people that all got hepititus (i dunno what the letters mean, but the one that kills you over a 10 year period) from sharing 1 needle. One person in the group had it, the rest got high off the same needle. This shit is real.
 

Psychonaut777

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Hepatitis C and yeah sharing needles is no joke. C is incurable and a LOT of fucking people have it. Something like over 90% of infected people dont know they are infected, which is even more scary.
 

NYCGRRRL

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Dirty Needles

Yes In some countries it is hard to get clean needles fortunately for those injectors that live in Australia and many other countries this is not the case and there is NO reason other than pure laziness to share or re-use a needle what's so ever!!!!

Just a few things that I would like to point out on the topic of cleaning fits!!
1. it is not 100%
2. It does not kill the HEP C virus thus more an more people are contracting HEP C.
3. If needles are hard to come by keep you own, don't share it and clean it after each use even though it's only you who's used it. However there are other health risks to keep in mind such as endocraditis and septicimia not to mention the damage you cause to your veins each time you inject with a used needle. There are other ways to use your gear, Shafting is just as effective as the anal linining is full of blood vessels, this means the gear is absorbed into your blood stream ASAP, it only takes a second or two more than injecting and in a pinch is a hell of a lot safer!!!!! I kow what your thinking !!! EXIT only.... but really mate if it's a choice between HIV / AIDS or HEP C and sticking your drug up your ASS go the ASS not like you have to tell the world about it.

Check out more info on safer injecting
www.hit.org.uk
www.anypositivechange.com
 

dankstersauce

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it's the same with STD;s. everyone just has the mentality that it won't happen to them, "shit like that happens to other people, not me" but once it happens it's too late
 

dr seuss

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thanks to the essay contributor :) and to NYCGRRRL - it was my understanding that cleaning fits was at best a second-rate solution...

always, always, always get new rigs wherever possible.

good stuff!
 

batailleseyes

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FYI: Brief note Clearing-up Myths of Detection Time

The tests commonly used to detect HIV infection are actually looking for antibodies produced by an individual’s immune system when they are exposed to HIV. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within two to eight weeks (the average is 25 days). Ninety seven percent will develop antibodies in the first three months following the time of their infection. In very rare cases, it can take up to six months to develop antibodies to HIV.
 

ayjay

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Hepatitis C and yeah sharing needles is no joke. C is incurable and a LOT of fucking people have it
Actually, hepatitis C is curable ("sustained virological response"), but the treatment is long, has side effects, and doesn't always work.

Hepatitis C is only transmitted via blood ("blood to blood transmission" - infected blood entering the bloodstream of another person). It is more infectious than HIV - an invisible amount of blood can carry enough hepatitis C virus to infect someone.

Because of this infectiousness, hepatitis C transmission can occur even if new fits are used. For instance, sharing spoons, filters, tourniquets and water can also lead to hepatitis C transmission.

Check out, for example, www.hepatitisc.org.au for more info

there is NO reason other than pure laziness to share or re-use a needle what's so ever!!!!
Unfortunately not true - there are many reasons why people find themselves in a postion where the choice is between reusing and not using; and not using is not always a real option. I think shafting is an interesting alternative - but if someone doesn't have access to a new fit they probably don't have access to a syringe for shafting either.
 

Chuff

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there is NO reason other than pure laziness to share or re-use a needle what's so ever!!!!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

There are as many reasons to share as there are sharers8)

Factors leading to the sharing of works or parafanalia....

Mistake others works for own :This can often happen where one than one injector is using a surface(table) it is very easy to mix up works espically after a few dig's.

Pre-used syringes used to draw up :some people will use a different syringe to 'draw-up' to minimise the risk of blunting, many people do not know this can transmit Hep.

Sharing cookers, filters and water the norm : due to the education done during the HIV/AID's scare of the last decade many users know not to share needles, but many believe it is safe to share other types of parafanalia and in research this has shown to be the norm8o new up to date education is needed to inform people of the risks, unfortunately straight hetro non using types will find it difficult to contract Hep C from sex so there will be little pressure from the 'Morally superiour' (read as c.u.n.t.s) powers that be although there may be progress made in the UK where public health costs will spiral if Hep continues to spread as predicted by current trends.




Buyer controls admin : so if buyer shares everybody else does. (social pressure) this unfortunately means the man(or woman) with the money rules the roost (which is scary if you allow some fucked up people will purpousfully spread diseases)


For the poster who mistakenly claimed 90% are unaware of infection the figure is nearer 2 in 5 or 40% aware 60% unaware.

Figures : centre for research and behaviour Imperial College London.
 

astarythe

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^ I was going to say the same thing....

the last factor: people lie, and/or are stupid.

i once asked someone if the water he had on him to rinse was clean, and he said 'yes' though i came to the conclusion later that he was wrong.... and this guy used to be nurse... (in his case the mistake was stupidity) moron.

another problem is that people don't have transportation to an exchange.... or don't know about it because its not super-close. (i live in worcester, a city of 170,000, with [according to the fbi] a high iv drug using pop... there are 2 exchanges about 1 hour away, but almost no one knows or goes...)
 

banksy

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The ideology behind needle exchanges is flawed.
The assumption is, if you need to collect hyperdemics then you need some kind of intervention on safer use, dealing with over doses and so on. the fact is needle xchanges have not reduced the spread of certain virus's. This ahs been due to capacity issues and more recently death by assessment for any one requiring this level of service.

The new thinking would be treat needles like condom's and offer people vending machines and spend the money wasted on assessing people on resourceful provisions for current or past drug users.
We are obsessed with counselling drug users, making sure they are informed of their denial to the point of over domination by the services suppose to help people.

In brittian they are obsessed with daily supervised consumption of all class a drugs within the prescribing chemist, in front of all your neighbours who hate who u are and what you represent. If they must then mobile dispensing units need to be created.

Me personaly I got hep c like most of my mates around the age of 18 or so. what am i know 36, give or take a few years I will be bowing out around 45/50. I am not a person for accessing treatmnts which are saturated in discrimination and terrible side effects.
most of not all the people i know who are hep c + cant identify the person they caught there bad blood from. Were as the people I know who have hiv usually always now the route of their transmition. I think it has something to do with hep c coming from prolific behavours and hiv coming from more intimate routes.

My brother has hep to we are not sure if i gave it to him or him to me.

i work hard to effect change in current responses to all blood borne viruses, apathy and break outs of shooting gallery cultures make it hard.
 

Flexistentialist

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banksy said:
The ideology behind needle exchanges is flawed.
The assumption is, if you need to collect hyperdemics then you need some kind of intervention on safer use, dealing with over doses and so on. the fact is needle xchanges have not reduced the spread of certain virus's.
That's not always the case. Here in Australia, no one is forced into any kind of assessment or intervention in a needle and syringe program (NSP). People are free to engage as much or as little as they like. If someone’s in a hurry, they can be in and out in under 30 seconds.

The ideology behind NSPs here is to reduce the harm from blood borne viruses by increasing access to clean injecting equipment. Everything else NSPs do is secondary to that.

NSPs in Australia have successfully kept HIV levels amongst injectors below 2% consistently for many years now. We introduced NSPs right as HIV started and managed to contain it by reducing rates of needle sharing.

Hep C is a different story, because the virus had been around much longer and by the time NSPs started, there was already a large pool of infection. Also hep C is much more infectious, not even requiring the actual sharing of needles to be transmitted. Minute particles of blood invisible to the naked eye can trasmit hep C, often indirectly through sharing torniquets, spoons, sterile water or blood on fingers.

There’s no doubt NSPs in Australia have reduced the spread of hep C, but they haven’t been able to successfully contain it like HIV.
 

KemicalBurn

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Flexistentialist said:
NSPs in Australia have successfully kept HIV levels amongst injectors below 2% consistently for many years now. We introduced NSPs right as HIV started and managed to contain it by reducing rates of needle sharing.
Does anyone know of stats concerning other countries by comparion? especially other countries which dont have a needle exchange program?
 

Flexistentialist

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It's hard to estimate HIV prevalence (% of total injecting drug users with HIV) in injectors in countries without large scale needle and syringe programs, because they're a hidden population.

The estimated prevalence and incidence of HIV in 96 large US metropolitan areas (Holmberg, S.D. Am J Public Health 1996 May;86(5):642-54) came up with a figure of 14% prevalence amongst US injectors, although there are some questions about the methodology there.

It's easier to compare the numbers of new HIV diagnoses where injecting drug use is implicated. Again, there are some problems with this research but it's the easiest to compare.

Morbitity and Mortality Weekly July 11, 2003 / 52(27);634-636 states that 25% of cumulative HIV infections in the United States are the result of injecting drug use. The Australian Bureau of Statistics Communicable Diseases Yearbook 2004 has the total number of cumulative HIV infections caused by injecting drug use at 4.4%.

Here's an article from the World Health Organisation which gives a much better summary of the evidence than I can. You can download the 206kb .pdf here.

Policy Brief: Provision of Sterile Injecting Equipment to Reduce HIV Transmission

...

WHO commissioned a review of more than 200 studies. The conclusions are outlined below.

* There is compelling evidence that increasing the availability and utilization of sterile injecting equipment for both out-of treatment and in-treatment injecting drug users contributes substantially to reductions in the rate of HIV transmission. For example, a study published in 2002 [1] compared HIV prevalence in 103 cities in 24 countries.

The HIV infection rate had declined by an average of 18.6% annually in 36 cities with needle and syringe programmes, whereas it had increased by an average of 8.1% annually in 67 cities lacking such programmes. These findings confirmed those of earlier reviews [ 2, 3, 4].

For example a 1997 study [5] compared HIV infection rates among injecting drug users in 52 cities without and 29 with needle and syringe programmes in North and South America, Europe, Asia and the South Pacific. On average the HIV infection rate increased by 5.9% per year in the former and decreased by 5.8% in the cities with needle and syringe programmes.

...

References

1 Health Outcomes International. Return on investment in needle and syringe programs in Australia Canberra: Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing; 2002. Available from: URL: www.health.gov.au/pubhlth/publicat/document/roireport.pdf

2 General Accounting Office. Needle exchange programs: research suggests promise as an AIDS prevention strategy Washington DC: US Government Printing Office; 1993.

3 National Commission on AIDS. The twin epidemics of substance use and HIV Washington DC: National Commission on AIDS; 1991.

4 Lurie P, Reingold AL, editors. The public health impact of needle exchange programs in the United States and abroad vol. 1. Atlanta: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 1993.

5 Hurley SF, Jolley DJ, Kaldor JM. Effectiveness of needle-exchange programmes for prevention of HIV infection Lancet 1997;349(9068): 1797-800.


The Return on investment in needle and syringe programs in Australia study (listed in the references above) concluded that over ten years, NSPs cost the Australian taxpayer approx $150 million to run, and saved between $2.3 and $7.2 billion in treatment costs for HIV and hep C.
 
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Diacetylus

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Don't know how much truth this holds, but I remember being told (and also reading somewhere) that Hepatitis C is not just a blood-borne virus, but can also be contracted through not using sterile equipment or through sheer carelessness on the behalf of the IDU (Intravenous Drug User).
For example, carelessly placing your unpackaged syringe on a dirty floor, or steps, etc... allowing it to gather dust and a whole lot of bacteria and then directly injecting the drug into your veins. Cuts and other undesirable contaminants that have accumulated on the product could be a factor too?
 

tokeitUP420

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i have hepatitis c, and when i was usin dirty needles about 7 other people i was hangin out with all used after each other. now that i think about it it's fucking gross but at the time when theres only 1 needle and 2 or 3 people u just dont really give afuck..
 
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