But these people are drug addicts, injecting themselves with whatever they just bought on the street — under the eyes of a nurse here at Insite, the only “safe injection site” in North America.
“You can tell she just shot cocaine,” Thomas Kerr, an AIDS expert who does studies at the center, said of one young woman who keeps readjusting her tight tube top. “The way she’s fidgeting, moving her hands over her face — she’s tweaking.”
Insite, situated on the worst block of an area once home to the fastest-growing AIDS epidemic in North America, is one reason Vancouver is succeeding in lowering new AIDS infection rates while many other cities are only getting worse.
By offering clean needles and aggressively testing and treating those who may be infected with H.I.V., Vancouver is offering proof that an idea that was once controversial actually works: Widespread treatment, while expensive, protects not just individuals but the whole community.
Because antiretroviral medications lower the amount of virus in the blood, those taking them are estimated to be 90 percent less infective.
The New York Times has the entire article. The source also has a short video that is very much worth watching.