Since Australia began implementing needle exchange programs in 2000, more than 32,000 HIV infections have been prevented as well as 100,000 cases of hepatitis C, according to a new study from the University of New South Wales, as reported by ABC News , a national Australian news service.

According to the article, about 1,000 needle exchange sites operate around the country, where intravenous drug users can access clean injection equipment. Researchers estimate the programs have saved the federal government more than $1 billion in health care costs. For every $1 spent on these programs, state and federal governments in Australia save $4.

In spite of this effectiveness, Australia's Christian Democratic Party opposes them, citing that needle exchange programs promote illicit recreational drug use and promote the spread of blood-borne illness.