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Office of AIDS

Access to Sterile Syringes


Injection drug users (IDUs) continue to be at risk for HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) infection in California. Sharing of contaminated injection equipment is linked to 18 percent of all reported AIDS cases in the state, and to the majority of new cases of HCV. Research indicates that access to sterile syringes is associated with lower frequency of sharing and reduced risk of infection.

California law permits public health efforts to expand access to sterile syringes through both syringe exchange programs (SEPs) and nonprescription sale of syringes (NPSS) in pharmacies.  For more information contact Alessandra Ross, Injection Drug Use Specialist at 916-449-5796 or alessandra.ross@cdph.ca.gov.

Non-Prescription Sale of Syringes in Pharmacies

Syringe Exchange Programs (SEPs)

Image of Police OfficerThe Risks of the Job: Protecting Law Enforcement from Needle Stick Injuries (Video)Opens in a new browser window.- Made in cooperation with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), this educational documentary from the California Department of Public Health, Office of AIDS, explains how officers can reduce the risk of infection by needle stick injuries on the job. LAPD officers visit an SEP on their beat and explore the ways that SEPs can help keep law enforcement officers and their communities safer.





  • Harm Reduction Coalition
  • California Office of Viral Hepatitis Prevention
  • AIDSvuprovides an interactive online map of HIV prevalence in the United States. Includes state and local maps, and lets users filter HIV prevalence data by race/ethnicity, sex and age. AIDSvu is updated regularly with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) national HIV surveillance database.

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Last modified on: 6/3/2014 11:27 AM