Laws prohibiting over-the-counter syringe sales to injection drug users: Relations to population density, HIV prevalence, and HIV incidence

S. R. Friedman, T. Perils, D. C. Des Jarlais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives. This study sought to assess relations of laws prohibiting over-the-counter syringe sales (anti-OTC laws) to population prevalence of injection drug users and HIV prevalence or incidence among 96 US metropolitan areas. Methods. A cross-sectional analysis was used. Results. Metropolitan areas with anti-OTC laws had a higher mean HIV prevalence (13.8% vs 6.7%) than other metropolitan areas (pseudo-P>.001). In 83 metropolitan areas with HIV prevalence of less than 20%, anti-OTC laws were associated with HIV incidence rates of 1% or greater (pseudo-P>.001 ). Population proportions of injection drug users did not vary by presence of anti-OTC laws. Conclusions. Anti-OTC laws are not associated with lower population proportions of injection drug users. Laws restricting syringe access are associated with HIV transmission and should be re pealed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-793
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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