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March 2012 Archives

King County Needle Exchange schedule has been revised

Posted by A.T. Martin on March 26, 2012 9:39 AM

The King County Needle Exchange schedule has been revised and is now available at:

For more information about the King County Needle Exchange, please call us at 206-296-4649.

King County has seen an unusual rise in heroin-related deaths.

Posted by Matt Bridge on March 22, 2012 10:33 PM

KING COUNTY, WA--Since Saturday, the King County Medical Examiner's Office has identified seven likely overdose deaths from heroin, possibly due to an increased potency of the drug or mixture with other substances. This is a notable and rapid rise in deaths; King County saw 32 heroin overdose deaths in total over the first six months of 2011.

Because of this sudden increase in deaths, health officials are issuing a public alert about the overdose danger. We are working with partners to analyze the heroin and identify possible reasons for the sudden increase in deaths.

"The best way for injection drug users to prevent overdose is not to use heroin, but for those who do, they need to be aware of the overdose risks," said Dr. Charissa Fotinos, Medical Director for Public Health -- Seattle & King County.

Key ways to reduce the risk of overdose include:

  • Never inject when you're alone
  • If you got heroin from someone new or it looks different, use less.
  • Don't use heroin in combination with other "downers" such as benzodiazepines (i.e. benzos), alcohol or prescription-type opiates such as OxyContin or methadone. It is also dangerous to use with stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine.

The seven who likely died from overdose were from areas across King County, ranged in age from 17-61 years of age, and included both experienced and inexperienced users.

If someone is with a person who is overdosing on heroin, they can help by immediately calling 911. The Washington state Good Samaritan law took effect in 2010 and provides immunity from criminal charges of drug possession for both the witness and the person experiencing the overdose.

The new law also expands access to Narcan (generic name naloxone), an opiate antagonist that reverses the effect of overdose from heroin and other opiates. Public Health - Seattle & King County has recently initiated a Narcan program at its Downtown Seattle needle exchange to dispense Narcan to heroin users and train them on how to use it in an emergency. For more information on the Good Samaritan law, see http://stopoverdose.org

Public Health is also working with community partners to alert members of the public who use heroin that there appears to be an increased risk of death from using heroin currently being sold.

Testing Resource

Posted by Matt Bridge on March 20, 2012 2:50 PM
Here is a great website for finding a testing resource in your area.


Spring is Coming. National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is Coming.

Posted by Matt Bridge on March 19, 2012 12:33 PM
Tomorrow, Tuesday March 20th is the first day of Spring. It is also the day chosen for the annual observance of National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NNHAAD).

According to the recently launched national website for NNHAAD, this observance day is a "national mobilization effort designed to encourage Natives (American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians) across the United States and Territorial Areas to get educated, get tested, get involved in prevention and get treated for HIV and AIDS."

For more information go to:

Yesterday, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a long-awaited report commissioned by the Office of National AIDS Policy back in 2010. IOM was tasked with recommending a list of essential indicators that can be standardized across various databases to provide a snapshot of the use of clinical services among people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHAs).

To view the report and for additional information go to the following website:

CDC Releases HIV Surveillance Report

Posted by Matt Bridge on March 14, 2012 10:48 PM

Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its HIV surveillance report.  This report presents data for diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS through December 31, 2010 and reported to CDC through June 2011.

CDC's 2010 HIV Surveillance Report is used by epidemiologists, researchers, and public health practitioners across a wide variety of institutions to help guide program planning, evaluation, and resource allocation.  The surveillance report contains data collected throughout the United States and six U.S. dependent areas by HIV surveillance programs in state and local health departments. It is one of the primary sources of information on HIV in the United States.

For more information or to read the report go to:


The Impact of Missed Health Care Visits on HIV Outcomes and Mortiality

Posted by Matt Bridge on March 13, 2012 2:28 PM
At the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) [external disclaimer] this week, Dr. Ron Valdiserri, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Health for Infectious Diseases, spoke with Dr. Michael Horberg, Director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente and a member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). They discussed the paper Dr. Horberg is presenting at CROI on the impact of missed office visits on HIV outcomes and mortality. This paper offers important insight into our efforts to address improvements in the continuum of HIV care.

For full story click here:


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