October 14, 2009
Puerto Rico's only needle-exchange group, the Community Initiative, is pilot testing a vending machine that offers intravenous drug users clean syringes, cotton filters, gauze, and sterile water. The after-hours program aims to prevent HIV and hepatitis infections transmitted among IDUs through needle sharing. The machine will operate outside the Community Initiative's Hato Rey office at night, said Dr. Jose Vargas, who founded the group. IDUs access the machine's products by using a special card.