Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to page options Skip directly to site content


This online archive of the CDC Prevention Guidelines Database is being maintained for historical purposes, and has had no new entries since October 1998. To find more recent guidelines, please visit the following:

Notice to Readers Publication of HIV-Prevention Bulletin for Health-Care Providers Regarding Advice to Persons Who Inject Illicit Drugs

MMWR 46(22);510

Publication date: 06/06/1997

Table of Contents




Persons who inject illicit drugs are at risk for acquiring and transmitting bloodborne infections, including human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. CDC, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the National Institutes of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have released a bulletin for health-care providers that contains the following provisional recommendations for persons who continue to inject illicit drugs:

  1. Stop using and injecting drugs.
  2. Enter and complete substance-abuse treatment, including relapse prevention.
  3. If use of illicit injected drugs continues, take the following steps to reduce personal health risks and public health risks:
    1. Never reuse or "share" syringes, water, or drug-preparation equipment.
    2. Use only syringes obtained from a safe, reliable source (e.g., pharmacies).
    3. Use a new, sterile syringe to prepare and inject drugs.
    4. If possible, use sterile water to prepare drugs; otherwise use clean water from a reliable source (such as fresh tap water).
    5. Use a new or disinfected container ("cooker") and a new filter ("cotton") to prepare drugs.
    6. Clean the injection site before injection with a new alcohol swab.
    7. Safely dispose of syringes after one use.
Single copies of the bulletin are available free of charge from the CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse, telephone (800) 458-5231 or (301) 217-0023. The bulletin is also available on the World-Wide Web at


To request a copy of this document or for questions concerning this document, please contact the person or office listed below. If requesting a document, please specify the complete name of the document as well as the address to which you would like it mailed. Note that if a name is listed with the address below, you may wish to contact this person via CDC WONDER/PC e-mail.

For single issue purchase 800-843-6356


State/Fed Gov: For free copies
write to: CDC, MMWR MS(C-08)
Atlanta, GA 30333

This page last reviewed: Wednesday, January 27, 2016
This information is provided as technical reference material. Please contact us at to request a simple text version of this document.