2 year old boy receiving HIV meds after getting poked with a dirty, discarded needle

It's becoming an increasing problem - dirty, used needles left in areas where families like to enjoy the outdoors.

Centennial Gardens in St. Catharines has become a hot spot for drug users, and local residents have taken it upon themselves to clean up the used needles.

The issue has sparked city-wide attention in Cambridge, where a two-year-old boy was pricked by a needle while fishing with his father near his home.

Brian Messier says he even took a walk around the area looking for needles before they started fishing at the end of September.

He tells CKTB he was in shock when Marcus cried out with a needle stuck to his palm.

Messier says he didn't know what to do at first, so he tried to suck his son's bleeding wound.

He then rushed Marcus home to clean the wound, and then headed to their local hospital.

Doctors acted quickly consulting with an infectious disease specialist since they weren’t sure how to treat a child that young with a needle poke.

Marcus has now undergone several, sometimes painful, treatments including a hepatitis B vaccination and medication for potential exposure to HIV.

The toddler will have to take three kinds of medicine twice a day for at least a month treating the risk of HIV infection.

Brian says the medicine leaves Marcus sick to his stomach and he also needs weekly blood tests to ensure the HIV medication isn’t shutting down his organs.

The Messier family decided to go public when they couldn't confirm which agency is responsible for cleaning up the area.

They understand the importance of free, clean needles to prevent diseases, but they want their local municipality to take responsibility to clean up areas.

The Messier's story has sparked families and local residents to take action.

A group called "A Clean Cambridge", which is active on Facebook, coordinates needle clean up days and finds thousands of needles discarded in public areas.

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Supporters will be at Cambridge City Council Tuesday night holding a peaceful protest starting at 5:30pm asking for a long-term solution for discarded needles.

Messier says it's an issue that impacts all Ontario communities and it's time to find some real solutions instead of reacting to worst-case scenarios like his family is doing now.