Brazilian Health Officials Say Needle Exchange has Prompted Decline of HIV Infection Among IV Drug Users
Needle-exchange programs have contributed to a decline in the number of HIV infection cases among intravenous drug users in Brazil, EFE News Service reports. Brazilian Health Ministry officials released statistics showing that the HIV infection rate among injection drug users has dropped more than 40% over the past four years. The officials cited as an example the city of Salvador, where the HIV infection rate among IV drug users fell from 49% in 1996 to 7% in 2000. In Rio de Janeiro, 25% of IV drug users were HIV-positive when the needle-exchange program started, and that rate has fallen to 8%. In Baixada Santistas, an area with a high rate of drug use, HIV infection among injection drug users fell from 65% in 1996 to 42% in 2000. Health officials said that the needle-exchange program has also prompted other behavioral changes among IV drug users such as a greater tendency to practice safe sex. In 1996, 80% of drug users said they "had never used condoms" during sex, but that percentage dropped to 63% in 2000 (EFE News Service, 10/17).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.