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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

CANADA: Needle-Exchange Program Opens Doors to City's Most Vulnerable Population




 

Kenora Daily Miner and News (04.16.12) - Thursday, April 19,

A Kenora detoxification center credits its needle-exchange program (NEP) for reducing rates of hepatitis C infection and helping reach the area's most vulnerable populations.

Kenora's NEP grew by 28 percent last year, handing out 69,340 needles. In Northwestern Ontario in 2011, the hepatitis C rate was 31.2 cases per 100,000 compared to Ontario's 39.9 per 100,000. The region's HIV rate is regarded as "negligible," or very low.

According to the Morning Star detoxification center's manager, Patti-Dryden Holmstrom, "The needle exchange is an entry-level service. People who might not access our service in any other way are coming through our doors to use that service." Gillian Lunny, another manager, added, "Our needle-exchange programs are an open-door program for people who have very few doors open to them." Dryden-Holmstrom said her staff has seen a shift in the use of opiate drugs, changing from the discontinued Oxycontin to heroin, as well as hydromorphine. Morning Star staff members see potential danger in this shift, as a user accustomed to taking 80 mg of Oxycontin could overdose on the same amount of hydromorphine.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in April 19, 2012. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.