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NEED's Mission is to stop the spread of HIV, Hepatitis B & C, and numerous other health problems that are caused by the re-use and sharing of syringes in the injection drug using population. NEED distributes clean injection equipment, disposes of used injection equipment, and educates the injection drug using population in Berkeley, CA in safe and healthy use of injection equipment. NEED provides wound care infection prevention education. NEED also provides supplies and education to promote safer sex practices to reduce the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Based in Berkeley, California, NEED is a needle exchange program that provides anonymous services in a client-centered manner, and is dedicated to the prevention of infectious diseases and to improving the physical, spiritual, and political health of drug users.
Unique among needle exchanges in the Bay Area, NEED is entirely run by volunteers. As a volunteer-run collective, we rely on invested and dedicated members of our own community. We started in September 1990 by a group of HIV+ persons, people in recovery, and health activists as an underground program operating out of a baby carriage on the corner of Hearst and San Pablo Avenues in Berkeley. Currently, we operate from a plain, white van at three neighborhoods sites each week. Recognizing that some of our clients are unable to come to site, we also have a small team of outreach workers that go out on Sundays to meet with clients in People's Park and the surrounding area.
During site we provide an array of harm reduction supplies, including multiple types of syringes, other non-injection drug supplies, and safe-sex supplies. Additionally, we provide information on a variety of providers offering services pertinent to exchange users and community members, including HIV/AIDS testing and prevention; STD testing and education; and addiction programs. Recently, we also began an overdose prevention and education component to address the rising number of overdoses among injection drug users.
For general information about volunteering at NEED, please visit our volunteer section of our website: http://www.berkeleyneed.org/volunteer/index.php
- Olivia Horan
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