Immunology Center

HIV and Substance Abuse

I think I have a substance abuse problem. What should I do?

The important thing is to find the right level of care for you. Rhode Island has teen and adult substance abuse treatment programs and many levels of care, including detox, residential, intensive outpatient, and partial hospital programs. Call any program for a telephone screening to see if the program is the right level for you. If not, they will refer you to another program that can better meet your needs.

Even if you do not have health insurance, you may be able to get care. Many programs are funded by the Rhode Island Department of Health to provide services to all who are eligible based on income. Talk to your physician or clinic social worker about other programs that may be able to help you pay for substance abuse treatment.

How can I prevent the spread of HIV infection if I use needles?

Always use clean needles; the safest thing is never to share your needles with others and not to reuse needles. If you must share, clean your needles with bleach and water.

ENCORE (Education, Needle Exchange, Counseling, Outreach, and Referral) is a program of the Rhode Island Department of Health and AIDS Care Ocean State. The purpose of needle exchange programs is to prevent the transmission of HIV, hepatitis C, and other blood-borne diseases by giving people harm reduction tools to lower the risk.

Harm-reduction tools include:

  • Clean syringes (needles can also be bought at pharmacies in Rhode Island without a prescription).
  • Bleach
  • Alcohol swabs, cookers, and cotton.
  • Condoms and other safer sex materials.

For more information, contact:

605 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI 02907
401-781-0665 or

Other Resources


Phoenix House Detox Center
251 Main St., Exeter, RI 02822
24-hour hotline: 401-295-0960 ext. 6443

Alcoholics Anonymous
401-438-8860, 800-439-8860 or (Spanish) 401-621-9698

Narcotics Anonymous

Project Link - Women & Infants Hospital
134 Thurbers Ave., Ste. 212, Providence, RI 02905

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This material was developed by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc., and funded by a Centers for Disease Control Prevention grant.