The Exchange of Dirty Hypodermic Needles

Subject: Health Care
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 613
Topics: Health, HIV, Medicine, Public Health
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The use of hypodermic needles started early in 1656. The Greece and Romans are the ones who knew about this new method by that time. The first type the needles started to be used, dogs were injected to test if it would work. Christopher Wren, a scientist, is the person who did the first experiment in 1656 performing intravenous injection into dogs. However, the syringe was not available at that moment prompting Christopher Wren to use an animal bladder as the syringe and quills from goose as a needle. He, nevertheless, failed until later after two centuries (Vitellone, 2017).

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Later in 1844, Dr. Francis Rynd made the first successful injection. After the experiment had worked, they realised that the injection was far much better than taking medicine orally. This is because, with injection, the medicine is directly entered into the blood stream. There are improvements that were made later like manufacturing of a glass needle and even till today, the hypodermic needles that we use were manufactured in the 19th century (National Research Council, 1995)

In some countries, people fear that the use of used needles is more dangerous than using the new ones. However, this depends on the population or the people using the needles. If for example in a country the doctors are the one who uses needles most, the use of them can be controlled easily. However, if the needles are available in the retail shops, then it needs to be controlled. The needle exchange is most of the time done in the hospital in the United States. This means that the blood of the previous person injected is first tested, so that is HIV negative. So, in this case, there is no need to use extra resources to buy a new needle. This is wastage of the money.

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Another thing is that the use of new needles every time that a person needs an injection is dangerous as it will be very stressful while disposing of them. The risk of disposing of them arises, and they may be fatal to the person who may come across them. This is because they can cause injuries. This can be controlled by using the same needle but making sure that it has been sterilised before being used to inject another person.

The use of the same needles will be very helpful when it comes to controlling the use of the needles by other people who are not either doctors or nurses. This will help reduce the rate at which youths are injecting themselves with hard drugs such as heroin and cocaine. If there will be an exchange of hypodermic needles, the government will have to introduce needle exchange programs where the citizens can be educated on how to use the needles used by another person. This will help in controlling the cases of infections which can be transferred through this means.

Lastly, the needle exchange program will reduce the number of syringes that are found in some streets which may cause harm to people. It is also accompanied by other benefits to the people who are ill. They are usually get advised on how to use the medicine and avoid an overdose. The mentally ill people also get the opportunity to learn about psychotherapy, and this reduces the harm to which they are exposed (Normand & Vlahov, 1996).

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  1. National Research Council. (1995). Preventing HIV transmission: the role of sterile needles and bleach. National Academies Press.
  2. Normand, J. & Vlahov, D. (1996). Preventing HIV Transmission. The Role of Sterile Needles and Bleach.1551-1557.
  3. Vitellone, N. (2017). Social Science of the Syringe: A Sociology of Injecting Drug Use. Routledge.
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