Needle and Syringe Service

Many people rely on needles, lancets or syringes to manage medical conditions and maintain their health as well. Your community pharmacy may be part of a needle and syringe program designed to stop the spread of blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

By providing sterile syringes, which can be accessed easily and anonymously, community pharmacies involved in the needle and syringe harm minimisation program aim to have every person who injects drugs use a sterile syringe every time.  

Pharmacy plays an important role in the community by providing safe methods of disposal and clean injecting equipment for customers who use sharps.

Needle and syringe programs are an important public health measure. These programs have prevented people from sharing injecting equipment and have thus helped to prevent the spread of Hepatitis C and HIV among people who inject drugs.

With HIV for instance, this means that in Australia the rate infection is very rare among both injecting drug users and the wider community. In some countries, such as the United States and parts of Europe, where needle and syringe programs were not established in time, HIV spread rapidly among injecting drug users and to the wider community through sexual contact.

In Australia, the level of HIV infection among people who inject drugs has remained around 1 per cent, compared to other countries with levels of more than 50 per cent.

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