Pubdate: Wed, 03 Sep 2003
Source: Charlotte Creative Loafing (NC)
Copyright: 2003 Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inc.
Author: Amy Keith, RN
Bookmark: (Needle Exchange)


Of course Tara Servatius is right in her comment that certain behaviors are
risk factors for HIV/AIDS ("Yes, Sex Causes AIDS," August 27). However, people
have been engaging in risky sexual behaviors since the beginning of recorded

One program which would at least help to reduce the spread of HIV would be a
clean-needle program -- the distribution of unused, sterile syringes to anyone,
no questions asked. As a former public health nurse, I know that these supplies
are cheap and easy to obtain.

Also good would be to re-institute a program that would make condoms available
to anyone at any Health Department clinic.

No amount of proselytizing by the religious right is going to change the fact
that HIV is a public health problem, not a moral pronouncement from God on
certain behaviors. I have had the onerous task of informing a 19-year-old girl
that she was HIV positive, and I'm betting she was already well aware of its
causes. For her it was (she said) a contaminated needle. Twenty-five cents or
so from a local health department for a clean syringe could have spared her
this devastating news.

Amy Keith, RN

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