Most needle-exchange programs must operate in semi-illegality. In the politically radical environment of New York’s East Village, outreach workers staff a table at which used, potentially HIV-contaminated hypodermic needles are turned in for new, sterile ones. By exchanging needles rather than simply distributing clean ones, these workers are ensuring that the total number of needles in the neighborhood does not increase.
Washington; and Santa Cruz, California. Needle exchanges were started as a general social movement by AIDS activists who were impatient with the lack of a proactive and effective response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic affecting IDUs in the United States. Their
movement found support among public health workers, who also realized that “bleach and teach” was not sufficient.