New syringe trade and education program starts next week

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – A new syringe trade and education program is hoping to cut down the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.

Chattanooga Cares is starting the Step TN program.

Chattanooga Cares Rural Health Manager Melanie Connatser said they’re seeing an increase of people with HIV and Hepatitis C.

She said the program is a harm reduction and education program targeting injected drug users.

Through the program, they’re providing a safe way to dispose needles and exchange for clean needles and syringes.

They’re also offering education on treatment that many users may not be aware of.

“Some may think that it increases drug use, but it actually is a great opportunity decrease drug use, because it’s a great opportunity for them to get treatment,” Connaster said of the program.

Connatser said research shows that participants of these programs are five times more likely to get into treatment.

The program starts on Monday.

Categories: Chattanooga, Local News

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