On December 1, 2021, the Cooper Infectious Disease and Early Intervention Program and Center for Healing teams collaborated with the Camden County Police Department to commemorate World AIDS Day with a community memorial walk and health fair in Camden. Together the teams walked the streets to honor those lost, and to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS and comorbidities including substance use disorder.
Information about HIV/AIDS and substance use disorder
HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus): HIV weakens a person’s immune system by destroying cells that combat disease and infection. While there is currently no effective cure for HIV, it can be controlled with proper medical care.
PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis): PrEP is a medication that people who are at risk for HIV can take to help prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. PrEP, when taken as prescribed, is proven highly effective in HIV prevention.
PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis): PEP is a medication taken to prevent HIV after a possible exposure during sex, injection drug use, or sexual assault. It should be used in emergency situations only and must be taken within 72 hours after a recent possible exposure to HIV.
ART (Antiretroviral Therapy): ART is medication recommended for all people living with HIV (regardless of CD4 cell count), to continually suppress viral load, maintain high CD4 cell counts, prevent AIDS, and reduce risk of transmitting HIV to others.
IDU (Injection Drug Use): The overdose crisis—both on a statewide and national level—has also brought to light an increased and ongoing incidence of blood-borne infections, from HIV to viral hepatitis to bacterial infections. These infections are primarily borne from contaminated drug injection equipment and low vaccination rates among at-risk populations.
SUD (Substance Use Disorder): People can be diagnosed with a specific type of SUD based on the primary substance that they are experiencing issues with, such as OUD (Opioid Use Disorder) or Stimulant Use Disorder. Many patients with SUD experience issues with multiple substances (Polysubstance Use Disorder).
MAT (Medication for Addiction Treatment): FDA-approved medications can be used to safely and effectively treat OUD, and AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder). MAT is clinically effective to help manage cravings and withdrawal, leading to long-term recovery.
Harm Reduction: For people who stop their treatment plan at any time, or who are not ready to stop using drugs, there are harm reduction strategies and resources to help keep them safe until they are ready to continue their treatment plan or begin a plan.
Sterile Needle and Syringe Access: Sharing needles, and using used needles, increases risk of diseases like HIV and hepatitis. It is very important for PWID (People Who Inject Drugs) to always use a new, sterile needle and syringe if they are going to inject drugs. Even reusing personal needles can cause damage to skin tissue and veins.
In New Jersey, pharmacies can sell up to two hypodermic needles and syringes, without a prescription, to customers 18 years or older who provide valid photo identification. (P.L.2011, c.183)
Individuals can exchange used supplies and obtain sterile supplies at local SSPs (Syringe Services Programs). The Camden AHEC (Camden Area Health Education Center) provides a mobile van at 2600 Mount Ephraim Avenue by the Produce Market where individuals can obtain condoms, sterile needles, syringes, FTS (Fentanyl Test Strips), and other lifesaving equipment and resources. Hours of operation are Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Naloxone and Overdose Prevention: All PWUD (People Who Use Drugs), patients who are prescribed opioids, and loved ones should keep naloxone on them in case someone overdoses. The most common form is NARCAN® Nasal Spray. Naloxone is available with a prescription from providers, and over the counter in pharmacies in New Jersey. Additionally, the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition will mail intramuscular naloxone to those who cannot otherwise access it: nextdistro.org/newjersey
Support is available through Cooper
Infectious Disease & Early Intervention Program
Address: Three Cooper Plaza, Suite 513, Camden, NJ 08103
Scheduled Appointment Hours: Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Addiction Medicine Consult Hours: Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
HIV Testing Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Center for Healing (Bridgeview Building)
Address: 800 Cooper Street, 4th Floor, Camden, NJ 08102
Scheduled Appointment Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Center for Healing is a State of New Jersey-designated Center of Excellence for Substance Use Disorder.
Click here for harm reduction resources.