Tag: hiv education

The Pros and Cons of Needle Exchange Programs: Do They Really Work?

Written By: Brian Cattelle

What are Needle Exchange Programs?

Needle exchange programs are places where IV drug users can obtain clean syringes for free. Needle exchanges also often offer other services.

Why Were They Created?

The purpose of needle exchange programs is to reduce the transmission of HIV and other blood-borne diseases. Recent statistics show that one fifth of all HIV and HCV infections in the United States are due to IV drug use. IV drug users often share needles with others because they can’t afford to buy new ones. Many needle exchange programs also offer education to help prevent the spread of illnesses like HIV and STD’s.

Needle Exchange Programs in the US

What Services Do They Offer?

-HIV/AIDS education

-Condom distribution

-Access to drug rehabilitation centers

-HIV and STD testing

-Counseling

-Safe disposal of used syringes

-Other medical services

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Needle Exchange Program Facts

  • 87% of needle exchange programs offer HIV testing and counseling, 65% offer hepatitis C counseling and testing, 55% offered sexually transmitted disease screening, and 31% offered tuberculosis screening; 89% provided referrals to substance abuse treatment” (from Drug War Facts).
  • As long ago as 1997, The N.I.H. stated, “individuals in areas with needle exchange programs have an increased likelihood of entering drug treatment programs.”
  • In 2008, needle exchange programs reported exchanging just over twenty-nine million syringes.
  • Studies show needle exchange programs have led to a 30% decrease in HIV infection, and an 80% decrease in risky sexual behavior.
  • These needle exchange program facts and statistics pretty accurately answer the question “do needle exchange programs really work?” Yes, yes they do.Related: How to Pay for Drug Rehab

    What’s With all the Controversy?

    Many feel these programs shouldn’t exist and that drug users should be punished to prevent drug use. People against needle exchanges argue this would provide more incentive for quitting.

    Whether a program condones or prevents drug use, they’re helping the fight against HIV and STD’s. Addicts will find a way to get high and needle exchange programs offer harm reduction during active addiction. Those using these programs have less risk of contracting a blood-borne disease and, upon getting sober, will better be able to live as productive members of society.

    Needle exchange programs often try to get addicts to stop using. Information about treatment centers and other services to help quit are available. Many in the depths of drug use don’t know the path to recovery. Needle exchange programs offer information on what to do and where to seek help.

    Do Needle Exchange Programs Really Work?

    Those who don’t understand the disease of addiction say that addicts must deal with the consequences of their decision to use dirty needles. Contrary to public opinion, these programs actually help cut down on public health costs. Taxpayer costs increase with the increase of infections.

    In some states, there are laws against possessing needles without a prescription and individuals carrying syringes may even be arrested for possessing drug paraphernalia. By 2006, forty-eight states have authorized needle exchange programs and allow the purchase of needles without a prescription. As of 2012, needle exchange programs can be found in almost thirty-five states.

    There hasn’t been any increases in drug use, or more frequent drug injection, in these states. Crime statistics have NOT shown any higher risks of crime from needle exchange programs.

    You draw your own conclusion.

     Discover the Dangers of Speedballing

    At Lighthouse Recovery Institute, we understand there’s no simple solution to substance abuse. We’ve been there. We’ve felt the hopelessness of active addiction and found a way out.

    Thankfully, there’s another way. Recovery is possible and within the reach of everyone. Call us today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015.

    Let us help you or your loved one recover. Let us help you break the chains of addiction.

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What Happens When You Sleep Around in Sobriety?

Sex & Sobriety: STD Symptoms

Sex is one of the great pleasures in life. Unfortunately, for those suffering from the disease of addiction, it also presents a very real danger. As we get sober and lose the crutch of drugs and alcohol, we often turn to people and sex.

std symptoms

Addicts and alcoholics are exposed to many health risks during active addiction. This makes it vitally important to practice safe sex during early-sobriety and into long-term recovery. After all, when you sleep with someone, you’re exposed to all the people they’ve slept with. For those in recovery, this list usually includes some unsavory characters!

In an effort to promote healthy sexual practices, Lighthouse Recovery Institute has compiled an handy guide to STDs and STD symptoms.

First, let’s examine what STDs are. The best way to do this is to make an STD list.

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STD List

Find a comprehensive STD list below:

• Bacterial Vaginosis
• Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
• Genital Warts
• HIV & AIDS
• Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
• Chlamydia
• Trichomoniasis
• Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)
• Pubic Lice (“Crabs”)
• Gonorrhea
• Chancroid
• Molluscum Contagiosum
• Scabies
• Herpes
• Hepatitis B (and rarely Hepatitis C)
• Mucopurulent Cervicitis (MPC)
• Syphilis

Now that we’ve listed different STDs, let’s turn our attention to various STD symptoms.

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STD Symptoms

Find common STDs and STD symptoms below:

  • Bacterial Vaginosis

Symptoms include: urinal discharge, burning or painful urination, and an unpleasant odor.

  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

Symptoms include genital warts.

  • HIV & AIDS

Symptoms are varied and may include: fever, fatigue, weakness, and lesions.

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Symptoms include: fever, chills, abdominal pain, cervical pain, and uterine pain.

  • Chlamydia

Symptoms include: nausea, genital pain, genital discharge, pain during sex (for women), bleeding after sex (for women), and bleeding/discomfort between periods (for women).

  • Trichomoniasis

Symptoms include: genital discharge, painful urination, and lesions.

  • Lymphogranuloma Venereum (LGV)

Symptoms include: swollen lymph nodes and groin pain.

  • Pubic Lice (“Crabs”)

Symptoms include: itching, sores, and blue spots in pubic hair.

  • Gonorrhea

Symptoms include: genital discharge, difficult urination, painful urination, swollen testicles (for men), and bleeding between periods (for women).

  • Chancroid

Symptoms include sores.

  • Molluscum Contagiosum

Symptoms include: genital itching and bumps (described as smooth and white).

  • Scabies

Symptoms include: extreme itching and a “pimply” rash.

  • Herpes

Symptoms include painful blisters.

  • Hepatitis B (and rarely Hepatitis C)

Symptoms include: fatigue, jaundice, nausea, and vomiting.

  • Mucopurulent Cervicitis (MPC)

Symptoms include: vaginal discharge, bleeding after sex, bleeding between periods, and pain during sex.

  • Syphilis

Symptoms include: sores (often described as small and painless), a rash on the palms of hands and soles of feet, fever, and fatigue.

Now that we’ve looked at various STD symptoms, let’s talk about safe sex.

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Safe Sex, Sobriety & Getting Tested

So, we’ve made our STD list and we’ve found out STD symptoms…what now? Simple, we practice safe sex and make sure to regularly get tested.

std list

This is easier said than done! It’s not easy to keep a level head when things are getting hot and heavy. Still, this is the only way to stay STD free. This is the only way to make sure we’re living healthy in all areas of our lives – mentally, physically, spiritually, and sexually.

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.

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