Pubdate: Wed, 24 Jul 2002
Source: Austin American-Statesman (TX)
Copyright: 2002 Austin American-Statesman
Author: Karen Heikkala
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


I'm glad Bill Clinton finally recognizes needle exchange programs prevent 
the spread of HIV ("Clinton voices AIDS regrets," July 12).

I wish he would have listened to his secretary of Health and Human 
Services, Donna Shalala, in 1998 when she said, "A meticulous scientific 
review has now proven that needle exchange programs can reduce the 
transmission of HIV and save lives without losing ground in the battle 
against illegal drugs." As 16,000 new HIV infections each year are said to 
be among people who inject drugs, that means 64,000 cases of HIV could have 
been prevented.

It's time to take an aggressive approach and use tools that work. A 
worldwide survey in 1997 found that HIV among injection drug users 
decreased 5.8 percent per year in cities with exchange programs and 
increased 5.9 percent in cities without such programs. Instead of banning 
federal funding for programs that distribute clean needles, HIV prevention 
dollars should be made available for needle exchange programs.


Regional Director

Drug Policy Forum of Texas

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom