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  1. Villarreal, Holly BSN, RN
  2. Fogg, Catherine MS, RN, ARNP


Overview: Injection drug users and their sexual partners and children represent an increasing proportion of Americans living with HIV or AIDS. Syringe-exchange programs (SEPs), which are based on the theory of harm reduction, are effective in preventing the transmission of HIV and other pathogens through injection drug use. Most programs also serve as gateways to other vital medical services. Yet SEPs remain controversial. This article describes the controversy, considers the evidence, and discusses the nursing implications.