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U.S. Government Releases New Guidance for Syringe Program Funding

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has released new guidance regarding use of federal funds to pay for many aspects of syringe service programs aimed at reducing the risk of HIV and viral hepatitis transmission among people who inject drugs. The guidance follows a change in federal law that lifts the overall ban on syringe service funding, although the new rules do not allow programs to pay for needles or syringes themselves.

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IHRC 2015: Hepatitis C Treatment as Prevention Must Address Concerns of People Who Inject Drugs

While epidemiologists and public health experts are excited about the potential of new hepatitis C drugs to limit onward transmission of the virus among people who inject drugs, some strategies ignore profound barriers to drug users engaging with healthcare and their broader needs. For "treatment as prevention" to be ethical and acceptable to this people who inject drugs, enabling treatment and policy environments need to be created, according to reports at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference last month in Kuala Lumpur.

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IHRC 2015: Why Is Injecting Equipment Reused? Drug Users Do Their Own Research to Find Out

Even in the context of the relatively good access to harm reduction services in Australia, the principle reasons for people who inject drugs to reuse syringes relate to the convenience of services, the stigma of drug use, a fear of repercussions, and other contextual factors, according to a recent study. No participants reported sharing equipment as a choice -- if sterile equipment had been readily available at the time they needed it, they would have preferred to use it.

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IHRC 2015: Community-based Drug Projects Provide an Alternative to Compulsory Detention in Asia

A series of pilot projects in China, Indonesia, and Cambodia are showing that non-coercive, community-based drug treatment projects are feasible and more effective than the current approach of many Asian countries, incarceration and compulsory treatment, according to findings presented at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference last month in Kuala Lumpur and in a report launched at the conference.

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IHRC 2015: Needle Exchanges Must Meet Needs of People Who Inject Steroids and Image-enhancing Drugs

The numbers of people injecting steroids and other image-enhancing drugs has increased significantly in the last decade, and harm reduction services need to develop new skills if they are to help people using these drugs avoid blood-borne viruses, according to presentations at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference last week in Kuala Lumpur. Surveys in the UK suggest that rates of HIV and viral hepatitis infections are significantly higher among people using these drugs than in the general population.

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