Research on Legal Access to Sterile Injection Equipment by Drug Users

The Board of Directors and Council approved the following resolution:

Whereas one method of transmitting the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes AIDS, from one person to another is through blood residue in shared drug injection equipment;

Whereas a large proportion of HIV-infected persons are injecting drug users;

Whereas epidemiological projections regarding the future of the AIDS epidemic point to widespread transmission of HIV among injecting drug users and their sexual partners;

Whereas injecting drug users and addicts frequently have limited access to sterile injection equipment on a regular basis;

Whereas the U.S. government has supported very limited AIDS prevention research involving equipment exchange or other means for addicts to acquire sterile injection equipment;

Whereas curtailment of equipment exchange in research projects limits the pursuit of knowledge about the total array of AIDS prevention techniques that may be effective among injecting drug users;

Whereas access to health care systems to acquire injection equipment creates a nexus for offering other services to addicted persons, including health-related education and treatment;


Therefore be it resolved that the APA advocates greatly expanded research, especially demonstration research, on the legal availability of sterile injection equipment as a method of preventing HIV transmission among injecting drug users. Such research should be in the context of also providing other services for drug users, including drug abuse treatment and treatment for HIV infection. 

August 1992