SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM
For over 30 years, HHHRC has operated Hawaii's statewide syringe exchange program (SEP). Established in the late 80s in response to the growing HIV and AIDS crisis, it continues its 3 decades of service reducing the acquisition and transmission of HIV in the state. Its efficacy has been evaluated annually and continues to prove itself a vital service and cost-saver for the state. The program focuses primarily on people who inject drugs (PWID) such as illicit substances, steroids, and hormones.
SEP services are free and confidential. It provides one-for-one syringe exchange services meaning that one sterile syringe will be provided for each used one turned in. No starter packs are provided and sterile syringe cannot be provided without an exchange. In Hawai'i, it is legal to purchase syringes at pharmacies without a prescription.
SEP services are available 5 days a week (excluding holidays, office closures, and unforeseeable events) on 4 islands.
Call the numbers below for more information on times and locations of services.
Office line for more information: (808) 521-2437
Downtown location: (808) 285-4265
Syringe exchange appointments (SEA): (808) 286-2852
Maui: (808) 264-1982
Kaua'i: (808) 651-7213
Hilo: (808) 895-1719
Kona: (808) 331-8177
The 2022 Syringe Exchange Annual Report has been released!
Our annual report outlines trends in number and demographics of participants and the impact of the program on HIV infection. The Report also includes an assessment of the cost-effectiveness of the program, the strengths and weaknesses of the program, the advisability of its continuation, and ways to improve the SEP.
HARM REDUCTION WITH ALOHA
HAWAI'I SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAM VIDEO
SEE A NEEDLE?
SEE A SYRINGE? A HOW-TO GUIDE FOR ADULTS
How to dispose of a syringe (hypodermic needle) safely and legally:
Stay calm. It may be disturbing to find a discarded syringe in a public area, and though they may carry an infection, transmission is very rare.
Do not attempt to pick it up with your bare hands. Use a set of tongs or another device. If that’s not possible, wear gloves or use a napkin or other barrier to pick it up by the non-needle end. Do not try to cap a syringe, as it increases the risk of needle stick.
Drop the syringe, needle end down, one at a time into a sharps container or other hard plastic container (i.e. soda or laundry detergent bottle). If possible, sterilize the sharps with a mixture of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Soak for at least 20 minutes.
Tightly close or seal the container, tape the lid on with duct tape if possible. Label the container “BIOHAZARD.”
Dispose of the container in a rubbish bin away from the reach of children and animals.
HOW TO PROPERLY DISPOSE OF A SYRINGE
The improper disposal of home health care waste is a serious safety concern for garbage collectors and landfill workers. Home health care waste include needles, syringes, lancets, other sharp objects, soiled bandages, medical tubing, and used medical gloves. If improperly thrown in trash bags along with regular trash, these sharps can puncture the bags and cause injury and potentially spread infectious diseases like hepatitis.
Please watch the videos below to learn how to properly dispose of and pick up used syringes.
6 STEPS TO DISPOSE OF USED NEEDLES AND SYRINGES SAFELY AT HOME
Place needles, syringes, lancets, and any other contaminated tools inside any strong, leak proof plastic container that has a small opening (so that no one else is able to stick their hand into it).
Clearly mark the container “BIOHAZARD.”
Needles and other contaminated sharps are NOT recyclable. Please keep them separate from other recyclables.
Do not recap, bend or break the needles prior to inserting them into the container. Place all parts inside the container.
Chemically disinfect all materials by pouring a 1 part bleach solution and 10 parts water into the container. Soak for 20 minutes then pour liquid down the drain and recap. Seal with heavy duty tape.
Be sure to keep all contaminated containers away from children and pets and place with other household solid waste.