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Drug Use and Harm Reduction

People who use drugs are at significant risk of contracting HIV through using shared drug paraphernalia, including needles, syringes and crack pipes. To reduce the risk of HIV and Hepatitis C transmission, the Canadian AIDS Society and many of its members promote harm reduction strategies. Harm reduction operates on a continuum, complementing efforts in prevention and education, and enforcement.

It respects that people who use drugs are not always able to abstain from using and provides a safe alternative. Harm reduction strategies include needle and crack pipe distribution programs, supervised injection sites, methadone replacement therapy and other substitution therapy.

The Canadian AIDS Society promotes the implementation of harm reductions programs and services and conducts community research into harm reduction services currently available.

Thinking of getting tattooed or pierced, or of engaging in electrolysis or acupuncture? Sharing of needles other than those on syringes, as well as other personal care items, may also present a risk for HIV transmission. Know the risks for HIV transmission and be aware of best practices to limit your risk of exposure.


Fact Sheet (FAQ)
News Release
Position Papers
Reports and Guides

Drug Use and Harm Reduction. © Canadian AIDS Society. Published 07/09/2009. Updated 05/13/2014. Web. Retrieved 08/28/2016 from