By the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)

Handy little pocket-sized booklet explaining the issue of syringe dead space, and why it makes a difference.

DEAD SPACE is the space between the needle and the plunger when the plunger is pushed all the way down. Blood and drug remain in the dead space after injecting. Some works have a higher dead space than others so there’s more blood and drug left. This blood could contain viruses like HIV or Hepatitis C. The lower the dead space, the smaller the amount of blood left inside and the lower the risk of catching viruses if works are accidentally shared. Low dead space needles and syringes have less space, so there is less risk. If you use low dead space needles and syringes:

• Less chance of catching viruses if you accidentally share works

• Less drug is wasted

• No need to flush as flushing damages veins

• Easier to clean out any viruses from low dead space needles and syringes