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Syringe Exchange

IV drug users are at high risk of spreading bloodborne diseases like hepatitis C and HIV. To combat this threat, the city of San Diego has a mobile clean syringe exchange program that operates twice a week. New York City has a wide network of clean syringe exchange programs and more IV drug users than any other city in the U.S.

San Diego’s mobile needle exchange operates out of a camper van in East Village on Thursday nights.

San Diego’s mobile needle exchange operates out of a camper van in East Village on Thursday nights.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

San Diego’s clean syringe exchange collected 183,000 used needles in 2008.

San Diego’s clean syringe exchange collected 183,000 used needles in 2008.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

An IV drug user reads an informational pamphlet on safe injection practices

An IV drug user reads an informational pamphlet on safe injection practices

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

IV drug users wait their turn to get clean syringes.

IV drug users wait their turn to get clean syringes.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

In New York, in addition to distributing clean needles, syringe exchanges distribute alcohol pads, bottle caps (to be used as cookers), and sterile water.

In New York, in addition to distributing clean needles, syringe exchanges distribute alcohol pads, bottle caps (to be used as cookers), and sterile water.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

Syringe exchange in East Bronx serves a large number of IV drug users.

Syringe exchange in East Bronx serves a large number of IV drug users.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center is one of 12 syringe exchange programs in New York City.

Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center is one of 12 syringe exchange programs in New York City.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg

Exchange workers check on their supply of syringes.

Exchange workers check on their supply of syringes.

Photo by Kenny Goldberg