You’re off to a great start by not sharing your free needles. Research tells us that Canadians sometimes hang onto their cookers to re-use or share, so here’s the information you can tell your roommate.
Everything new, every time is the best way to avoid blood-borne infections like HIV or Hep C. Blood may be on used equipment like cookers, needles, filters, swabs, or shared ties even if they “look clean.” By stocking up on all these items when you get your needles, you’ll have enough to dispose of them after one use.
It’s best to use a new cooker each time, but sometimes emergencies happen. So if you are in a jam:
- If you don’t have lots of cookers, mark yours to make sure that you are only re-using your own (and don’t let others use it.)
- Ontario researchers have found that heating the metal cooker with a cigarette lighter for about 10 seconds, or until the wash bubbles, the researchers were able to kill the HIV virus on the cookers and filters.
Lastly, take time to get tested for HIV, Hep C and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections. There’s a good chance that the place you get needles will know where you can get tested, or can test you when you’re there. Knowing your HIV and Hepatitis status is another great step in protecting your health and the people around you.