The average monthly rate of new HIV infections among drug users in Washington D.C. has dropped by roughly 70% since the district implemented a needle exchange program in 2008, according to a new study being published in this month’s issue of the journal AIDS and Behavior, which we received through press release.
In total, new HIV cases among drug users has dropped from 19 new infections per month prior to 2008, to less than 6 per month now.
“This shows that policy change matters for HIV prevention,” says Monica Ruiz, a professor at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. “[P]olicy changes like this that help people to get the resources that they need to stay healthy and prevent infection — those are hugely important.”
For the study – which was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse – Ruiz and two other researchers analyzed 12 years of data provided by the D.C. Department of Health.