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Syringe dispensing machine, Europe, 1990-1992

This vending machine was the first of its kind and was aimed at preventing the spread of infections such as HIV caused by needle sharing among drug users. Machines like this were to be used if Needle Exchange Units were shut or unavailable in the area. Each user was given a special token to work the machine. The machine distributed packets containing three syringes, one condom and a new token. There is also a special section for the user to deposit used needles. Each machine cost £600. This project was developed by Lifeline Project Limited, a day centre for drug users based in Manchester. It was founded in 1971 and now has centres across the United Kingdom.

Object number:

1992-29 Pt2

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Glossary: vending machine

A slot machine from which food or other small goods may be obtained.

Glossary: AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a disease caused by infections resulting from a weakened immune system due to the HIV virus. It leads to failure of the immune system and is usually fatal. It is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids.

Glossary: HIV

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that weakens vital cells in the immune system, and leads to AIDS. There are two strands: HIV-1, which leads to immunity suppression; and HIV-2, which is not as potent and is only common in West Africa. HIV is spread through direct contact with bodily fluids.