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Am J Public Health. 1991 May;81(5):617-9.

Evaluating needle exchange: do distributed needles come back?

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  • 1Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco 94105.


We employed capture-recapture methods as a strategy for evaluating needle exchange. Needles distributed by the exchange at two time periods were marked with color coded bands indicating the date and site of distribution. Half of the marked needles (2,068/4,239) returned within two weeks of distribution, and 61 percent (2,593/4,239) returned during the study period. The rate of return for stationary exchange sites (63 percent) was greater than that for roving/mobile sites (51 percent; chi 2 = 28.6, p less than .001). Of all needles returned, 87 percent (2,248/2,593) returned to the site of original distribution.

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