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Creating a Profile for Injection Drug Users Utilizing Data from the Change Point Syringe Exchange Program in Reno, Nevada
Microbiology and Immunology
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology
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Understanding the unique characteristics of injection drug users can enhance the reduction and transmission of Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). Syringe exchange programs provide resources to reduce the behavioral harms of infectious disease among injection drug users. This paper describes a descriptive study performed at the Nevada HOPES Change Point Syringe Exchange Program utilizing interviews of injection drug users regarding their drug use behaviors, HIV and HCV status, and attitudes regarding the program's impact on their behaviors. Of total clients that participated (n=31), most used the program primarily for sterile syringe and drug equipment but were aware of testing and referral resources. 22 clients (66%) reported current methamphetamine use, 29 (90%) reported prior HIV testing, 27 (84%) reported prior HCV testing, 0 reported HIV positive status and 10 clients (28%) reported HCV positive status. The findings of this study overall suggests the program reduces reuse or sharing of drug equipment as well as a modest effect on thoughts regarding cessation of drug use. This study provides insight for ongoing allocation of resources and future considerations by public health authorities in the state of Nevada regarding the impact of syringe exchange programs on risks like Hepatitis C exposure related to injection drug use behavior.