Never share needles, syringes, or other materials used to inject drugs. You are at risk if blood from an infected person gets into your bloodstream.
HIV lives in the blood. Small amounts of blood may stay in or on the injecting equipment (needles, syringes, spoons, water or filters). In this way it can get into the blood of the next person who uses the equipment. Drugs can make people feel sexy, less inhibited and more likely to have sex. Protect yourself and your partner by using condoms every time you have sex.
You can buy new needles or get them free from needle exchanges. If you cannot get new equipment, it is possible to clean old equipment. You should not do this unless it is an emergency and you have no choice but to use old equipment.
This is what to do:- Flush out the syringe with clean, cold water. Do this three times. Draw a weak solution of bleach through the needle into the syringe. Leave some air in it and shake it for at least 30 seconds. Squirt the liquid down the drain or toilet. Do this twice. Flush out the syringe and needle again with fresh cold water. Do this at least five times.
Needle stick injuries
If you find a needle and or syringe in the street, don’t touch it. Even though the risk of catching HIV is very low, there are other infections that can be caught from used injecting equipment. Phone your local Environmental Health Department who will send someone to deal with it. The number is in the phone book under the name of your local council.
If the skin has been broken or pierced by a needle or other sharp instrument, this is what you should do:
- Gently squeeze the wound, to encourage it to bleed
- Do not suck the wound
- Clean the wound with soap under running water
- Cover the wound with a waterproof elastoplast
- Contact an Accident & Emergency department immediately.