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Safer Drug Use

HIV and Hepatitis B & C can be transmitted from one infected person to another through shared needles and other injection equipment. Hepatitis B and C can also be transmitted (passed from one person to another) when snorting or smoking drugs because infectious blood (often so small that you can't see it) can get on these items. The Hepatitis virus can live outside of the body on drug use equipment for months. Even under ideal conditions, the HIV virus can only live outside of the body for weeks.

Injection drug use is one of the most dangerous ways to use drugs because it comes with a higher risk of HIV exposure and can result in a host of other infections. Regular injection drug use can also be really hard on your body. It's a good idea to take breaks, or switch up the way your using.

To protect yourself from HIV and Hepatitis make sure you have your own drug use equipment - works, snorters, and pipe tips. If you are getting high in a group, mark your equipment (with a marker, nail polish, burn mark etc.) so you know it's yours. Never share your drug use equipment, and learn how to inject yourself . People who need help to get high are at a higher risk for HIV and Hepatitis C.

Safer drug use information can be accessed from the AIDS PEI office. Information can also be found online at http://www.tripproject.ca .

The province of Prince Edward Island runs a needle exchange program. See the needle exchange section for more information.

Safer injecting tips

Head and Neck (Dangerous to shoot here)

Overdose death is more likely when you shoot near the heart or the brain. Skin infections (abscesses) are more dangerous around the head and neck too. You should avoid injecting here.

Shoulders and Chest (Use caution when shooting here)

If surface veins (those visible just under the skin) are good in this area, use them - but go slow and rotate sites or you'll ruin them.

Arms (Safest to shoot here)

If surface veins (those visible just under the skin) are good, use them but rotate sites regularly to keep these veins healthy.

Wrists (Dangerous to shoot here)

The insides of the wrists are full of nerves, veins, and arteries - and everything is really close together. You should avoid injecting here.

Hands (Safest to shoot here)

The veins on the back of the hand are fragile. It is safe to shoot here, but go slowly. It will hurt!

Stomach area (Safest to shoot here)

If surface veins (those visible just under the skin) are good, use them but rotate sites regularly to keep these veins healthy.

Groin (Dangerous to shoot here)

The groin area is not a good place to inject. You could hit a major artery and lose your leg or die! It is also not a good idea to inject into the genitals themselves because these sites get infected easily - the risk is high no matter what genitals you're working with!

Legs (Use caution when shooting here)

The blood flows slowly in leg veins, so inject slowly (be careful, there is an artery behind the knee). It is easier for blood clots to form in this area so you need to take really good care of these veins.

Feet (Use caution when shooting here)

The veins on the top of the foot are fragile so inject slowly because it will hurt! If you have diabetes shooting in your foot is not a good idea - if you get an infection it will take longer to heal and can lead to other complications.

 


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