Assessing Syringe Exchange Program Access among Persons Who Inject Drugs (PWID) in the District of Columbia

Sean T. Allen, Monica S. Ruiz, Jeff Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Prior research has explored spatial access to syringe exchange programs (SEPs) among persons who inject drugs (PWID), but these studies have been based on limited data from short periods of time. No research has explored changes in spatial access to SEPs among PWID longitudinally. The purpose of this research is to examine spatial access to SEPs among PWID who accessed services at a SEP in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), from 1996 to 2010. The geometric point distance estimation technique was used to calculate the mean walking distance PWID traveled from the centroid point of their zip code of home residence to the mobile exchange site where they accessed SEP services. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to examine differences in walking distance measures by year. The results of this research suggest that the distance DC PWID traveled to access SEP services remained relatively constant (approximately 2.75 mi) from 2003 to 2008, but increased to just over 4 mi in 2010. This research provides support for expanding SEP operations such that PWID have increased access to their services. Increasing SEP accessibility may help resolve unmet needs among injectors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-140
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • Access
  • HIV
  • Persons who inject drugs
  • Substance use
  • Syringe exchange programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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