Needle swap success hailed

YEARS of needle exchange schemes appear to have had the desired effect after it emerged the Lothians has a considerably lower rate of HIV transmission through drug use than elsewhere in the UK.

A report by the Health Protection Agency said in London more than four per cent of all needle users were HIV positive, a figure that is thought to be only around 0.6 per cent here.

Experts said the introduction of free needle exchange programmes has helped reduce infection, and brought a sea change from the 1980s in Edinburgh when there was an HIV epidemic among injecting drug users.