Can Florida’s First Needle Exchange Help Curb HIV?

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

On a steamy Tuesday, I sat in the passenger side of Emelina Martinez’s car as she wove through Overtown, a neighborhood in Miami notorious for opioid drug use, sales, and overdoses. Martinez, 48, is an outreach coordinator at IDEA Exchange, Florida’s first needle exchange that opened in Overtown in December. She drives through the neighborhood a few times each day, spreading the word and checking in on participants, the overwhelming majority of whom are intravenous drug users who call Overtown’s underpasses and parking lots home.

As we drive, Martinez spots a woman she doesn’t recognize and pulls over. “Baby,” she calls. She passes the woman a flyer and condoms. “In case you know somebody who injects,” she says, pointing at the