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Puerto Rico Tests Needle Exchange Vending Machines to Reduce the Spread of HIV

posted 11:19 AM EST, Mon October 19, 2009
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Puerto Rico Tests Needle Exchange Vending Machines to Reduce the Spread of HIV © Photo Cresit: A.drian

In San Juan, those in need of clean needles, condoms or cookers in the middle of the night can visit a local vending machine to get what they need.

Drug users in San Juan Puerto Rico can get clean needles, condoms and drug cookers at Community Initiative, a harm reduction clinic that aims to reduce the transmission of Hepatitis C and HIV amongst the island's intravenous drug using population.

Now, those in need of clean supplies after hours can visit the clinic and get syringes or condoms from a vending machine located in front of the building.

The machine does not take money, but requires the insertion of a special card.

The founder of Community Initiative, Dr. Jose Vargas Vidot, says that he hopes that younger drug users who might be reluctant to come to the clinic during daylight hours might use the more anonymous after hours vending machine.

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