Natalja Istomina, Rožė Perminienė, Riitta Suhonen, Helena Leino-Kilpi


Infectious deseases such as HIV and virus hepatitis B and C are closely connected with drug use. These deseases are one of the hardest drug use results affecting health. The relation between drug injections and infection transmission is undeniable. Therefore in many countries prevention of drug use harm and its reduction is the aim of societies‘ health policy and strategies of fighting against drugs. The aim of this work: to review the concept of harm reduction, to analyse and present literature material related to particularity of implementation, importance and effectiveness of one element of harm reduction programme – needle and syringe exchange. The methodology of the study – analysis and synthesis of scientific literature and sources, meta-analysis, structuring and summarizing information. Harm reduction is a policy or programme oriented towards reducing negative drug use effects on health of an individual person and the whole society in general as well as social and economical areas without a strict requirement for a person to give up using drugs. Using clean injection equipment, its sterilization, reducing of risky habits while preparing drug mixtures/solutions and promotion of condom use are especially important kinds of intervention in programmes of reducing HIV, spread of hepatitis, overdosing and other drug connected death cases. However drug harm reduction programmes are not alternatives to other means of treatment for drug use. Harm reduction, widespread worldwide, is being consolidated and integrated with different health care and social services. Usually “packages“ of various services of harm reduction are provided in low treshold centers.

Keyword(s): injection drug users; HIV; harm reduction; needle and syringe exchange; centers of low treshold
DOI: 10.5200/sm-hs.2013.001
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