By-law 3/2007 of 16 January and Order 22 144/2007 of the Ministry of Health and Justice authorized a pilot PNSP in Lisbon and Paços de Ferreira in 2008–2009. This was part of a broader strategy to decrease the incidence of HIV, HBV and HCV in prison settings by reducing risk behaviours associated with intravenous drug use, sexual activity, piercings and tattoos and injected use of steroids.
The participant, after giving specific information on his pattern of use, received a kit with two syringes, filters, disinfecting towel, clean cup, citric acid, bi-distilled water and a condom. The rules were that the kit should be kept inside its box; if the cell were inspected, the inmate should state that he is in possession of the kit; and the kit should only be taken outside the cell to be exchanged by the health-care unit.
An outcome evaluation showed that reasons for not taking part in the programme included that most prisoners were afraid of being discriminated against, feared negative consequences for their penal situation, feared lack of confidentiality, did not want to declare themselves to be using drugs and were afraid of being identified as such or as participating in the PNSP. No syringes were exchanged in either of the prisons during the 12 months of the PNSP.