Las Vegas is Getting Needle Vending Machines

Las Vegas will be the first US city to have clean needle vending machines created to combat the spread of diseases like hepatitis B and C and HIV.

The vending machines will be available in May and the project is a coordinated effort between Trac-B Exchange, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society.

Trac-B Exchange program director Rick Reich says this program is great for the Las Vegas community.

"Trac-B is proud to assist all community collaborators in this cost-effective effort and in the promotion of the vending machine pilot project."

In order to use one of the three machines, users must fill out a form from one of the sponsoring groups and get an eight digit ID number to ensure their anonymity and track their use.

Each kit will have sterile needles and syringes and is free for registered users.

One of the machines locations will be inside the Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada.

Executive director for the center Patrick Bozarth says it can allow users the opportunity to interact with counselors if they want to reach out.

“I think we're optimistic it will help...but it’s such a new program and we want to make sure we’re prepared.”

Needle exchange programs have proven successful to reduce the rise of infections.

The CDC says the prevalence of hepatitis C went from 80 percent down to 59 percent from 1990 to 2001 in New York alone.

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