Although this is a new idea in the United States, it was tested in Europe over 20 years ago. In order to combat the AIDS epidemic that was spreading across Europe, France allowed pharmacies to dispense needles without a prescription and implemented needle exchange programs. In 1996, they began a pilot program of syringe vending machines, similar to a coin-operated vending machine. The first vending machines were placed in Marseille due to its high occurrence of AIDS caused by sharing of needles. The results of their study was published in 1999. They found that when the availability of syringes increased, more and more people began to purchase sterile needles. It also provided a discrete way for people to purchase needles without having to feel embarrassed going into a pharmacy. They theorized that with greater access to sterile needles, they would expect to see a reduction in bloodborne pathogen cases.