Clean Needle Program
Clean Needle Programs from a public health perspective
The Clean Needle Program is an important public health initiative that reduces the spread of blood borne viruses including HIV and hepatitis C among people who inject drugs and the wider community.
Similar programs in other states and territories are known as needle exchange programs or needle and syringe programs.
A national and international evidence base supports the Clean Needle Program as a key public health strategy.
The Clean Needle Program reduces blood borne virus transmission and increases other health and social outcomes effectively, safely and cost efficiently. This is achieved by the provision of a range of services to people who inject drugs including:
- the distribution of sterile needles and syringes and disposal equipment
the provision of information and education about safer injecting practices and safe disposal practices
- referral to a variety of services such as drug treatment, health, legal, and social services.
Evidence shows participation in the Clean Needle Program results in:
- more clients accessing primary health care services
- higher rates of enrolment in drug treatment programs
- higher treatment retention rates.
The Clean Needle Program is also associated with:
- reduced rates of injecting
- increased cessation of injecting
- overall improvement in quality of life.
Services are provided at a range of sites in metropolitan and country South Australia.
The Needle and Syringe Program information kit provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the Clean Needle Program.
The kit consists of two booklets
- Needle and Syringe Program: Your questions answered
- Needle and Syringe Program: A review of the evidence.
Return on investment in needle and syringe programs
Australian Governments invested $243 million dollars in needle and syringe programs between 2000 and 2009. Australia wide, needle and syringe programs are estimated to have saved $1.28 billion dollars in downstream health care costs during this 10-year period. It is estimated that needle and syringe programs have directly averted 32,050 new HIV infections and 96,667 new hepatitis C infections.
- Return on investment 2: Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of needle and syringe programs in Australia 2009.
For further information/contact details
Clean Needle Program, (08) 8274 3382 or