HIV/Hepatitis C Case Study Essay

1295 Words 6 Pages
The United States has experienced an increase in the number of cases of Hepatitis C over the past decade. There are counties across the United States that are at an increased risk for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) outbreaks. These diseases are efficiently transmitted by exposure to contaminated blood and blood products and often lead to co-infection. This has been shown by increased transmission occurring among injection drug users, primarily those under the age of thirty (Zibbell et al, 2015). Needle exchange programs have been used as a preventative strategy for reductions in HIV/Hepatitis C transmission among injection drug users. This case study will examine and compare three communities in regards to their practices, successes, and barriers to decreasing HIV/Hepatitis C transmission.
Needle exchange is the process of providing clean needles in exchange for dirty needles to injection drug users (IDUs). Other necessary supplies are also provided such as alcohol wipes, tourniquets, other sterile injection equipment and condoms (National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, 2012). Comprehensive programs link the IDUs to educational materials, HIV and Hepatitis C screenings, substance
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The effectiveness of these programs has been highly researched. The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a review of over 200 studies. The results of the review showed strong evidence that programs providing access to sterile equipment and other services greatly contributed to a reduction in HIV. There was no significant evidence showing negative consequences of programs such as an increase in drug use or new drug users. The study also found that bleach was not an effective strategy in preventing HIV infection and needle exchange programs are not a sole prevention strategy but should be complemented by other measures (World Health Organization,

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