Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Needle Exchange Update

Can you believe it will be 3 years in February since we started needle exchange in Delaware? Here's an update on the program:
  • 653 clients are enrolled in the City of Wilmington's Needle Exchange Pilot Program, exchanging more than 28,000 needles. This means that we have incinerated over 28,000 potentially infectious syringes and removed them from our streets. Since it is a one-for-one exchange, there is virtually no needle litter problem anymore.
  • 402 participants self-reported that they were referred by another NEP client. This proves that word-of-mouth advertising is what works with this population. 4 people reported that they were referred by law enforcement.
  • Caucasian clients make up 69% of the membership; however, we are working on increasing the participation of African Americans using the social networking strategy called the LINK program. We are asking existing members to refer their peers. Since it began in February, LINK has 97 members, 79 of them recruited by existing members.
  • We've made 72 formal referrals to drug treatment, of which 46 have successfully entered treatment. This does not include informal referrals we make all the time and at just about every instance of exchange.
  • 1711 rapid HIV tests have been completed on the van. 84 of those were people tested for the first time. 14 of them were newly identified positive individuals. Almost 300 of the 1711 HIV tests were NEP clients, but more than 1300 of the tests were provided to members of the community where the NEP operates. These individuals accessed HIV testing because we brought the service to them. As a result of our success at reaching these residents, we are planning to begin offering the combination hepatitis A and B vaccine on the NEP in the coming weeks.

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