Although rates of HIV among people who inject drugs have dropped since the early 1990s, recent outbreaks have been reported around the country. Women have been disproportionately represented in these outbreaks, and more information is needed about how to increase their access to these potentially life-saving medications.
A new study funded by NIH’s National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that implementing PrEP distribution within a community-based syringe services program (SSP) gets the much-needed medication into the hands of women who inject drugs. Syringe service programs have become an integral part of evidence-based harm reduction strategies, providing access to (and disposal of) sterile syringes and injection equipment, and providing much-needed linkages to helpful social services.
The study provides strong evidence that there is a demand for PrEP among women who inject drugs when clinical care is provided in tandem with syringe services programs, which has the potential to save lives in this population.
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