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ID Groups to Congress: Lift Ban on Federal Funding of Needle Exchange Programs — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 30, 2014

ID Groups to Congress: Lift Ban on Federal Funding of Needle Exchange Programs

By Amy Orciari Herman

Edited by Andre Sofair, MD, MPH, and William E. Chavey, MD, MS

The Infectious Diseases Society of America and HIV Medicine Association are asking Congress to lift the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange programs. In addition, they call for over-the-counter access to syringes and the establishment of community-based needle access and disposal centers that are "safe, accessible, and discreet."

As part of their rationale, the groups note that syringe exchange programs:

  • Are associated with reductions in the incidence of HIV and viral hepatitis

  • Decrease the sharing and reuse of needles

  • Reduce the number of improperly disposed syringes

  • Serve as an access point to healthcare for underserved populations, which may include condom provision and HIV and hepatitis education, testing, and counseling

Reader Comments (2)

ROGER FELIX Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice

I totally agree with the concept of needle/syringe exchange programs, and the science behind them supports them. That having been said, the Republican-controlled House will never agree to funding this. Their attitude toward drug users is that they deserve to suffer from diseases -- in other words, an attitude totally moralistic and lacking in either compassion or good sense. The scientific basis for needle exchange will not affect these legislators, many of whom are anti-science anyway. The fact that they could save society money with these measures will be lost on them as well; they will just say "no money to be spent on helping drug users!"

SUSAN WOMELDORF Physician, Family Medicine/General Practice, FQHC

PLEASE!!! I see a new case of Hep C at LEAST every week, and most of these patients are former or active heroin users in their 20's and 30's. With the catastrophic rise in heroin use documented again, and again (increased prices in illegal pain pills cited as a contributing factor), this is a a desperate need. Which would the government rather pay for $100,000/pop Hep C treatment, liver failure, or needles and syringes.

Also need to educate people about not sharing lancets for DM meters as well.

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