Safer Needle Pick Up

At HIV North we are concerned about community safety and our team takes measures to keep used needles off the street. We strongly encourage everyone to properly dispose of their equipment. Unfortunately, for various reasons, used syringes and supplies are sometimes discarded in public areas.

As part of our education and awareness campaign, we hope to equip the public with knowledge regarding safe handling and disposal of drug use supplies. Please note these are general guidelines and are not meant to be all-inclusive. While some products are generally harmless, extra caution should be taken with products containing or stained with blood. Although it is not always necessary, the best practice is to wear waterproof gloves and use tongs to pick up all garbage left behind, this will help prevent needle stick injuries .

Needle Pick Up

Discarded needles are generally safe to pick up when handled properly. Use caution and follow these steps:

  • Find a non-breakable, puncture-proof container with a lid.
  • Wear latex, rubber, or leather gloves and use tongs to pick the needle up to prevent contact with fluid. Do not attempt to put the cap back on the syringe.
  • Pick up the syringe, needle pointing down and away from you. Carefully place it into the container put the lid on and close. Tape the lid to the container and label.
  • Disinfect your tongs or grabbers
  • Take your needle container to HIV North.

What If I am Accidentally Poked?

Some times needles are discarded in areas that make them hard to see. It is very rare for someone to accidently be poked by a needle, however it is possible. This is why it is important, especially during spring clean-up, to use caution when tending to gardens and completing yard work. Avoid reaching into hidden areas that are hard to see. If you suspect that you have been poked by a discarded needle here are some steps to follow:

  • Squeeze around the site to encourage bleeding. Do not dig at the site to make it bleed.
  • Run clean water and soap over the site to flush and clean it.
  • Go to the closest emergency room immediately. The doctor may prescribe medication to prevent blood borne infections.