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AIDS Action Applauds Introduction of a New Bill Allowing Federal Funds to Support Syringe Exchange Programs
Date:7/30/2008

WASHINGTON, July 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On Wednesday, July 30th, Representative Jose Serrano (D-NY) introduced the Community AIDS and Hepatitis Prevention Act, a bill which, if passed, will remove all legal barriers to States and local jurisdictions to spend federal funding that they receive for prevention of diseases directly on syringe exchange. Syringe exchanges are a method of HIV prevention which helps intravenous drug users obtain clean syringes in order to prevent sharing syringes that are potentially infected with HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other bloodborne diseases. A letter with 147 local and national, community, substance abuse, viral hepatitis, HIV, syringe exchange, and public health organizations, as varied as The Episcopal Church, the Office of Communicable Disease Control and Epidemiology in the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, the Hispanic Federation and many more, was also released in support of the bill (see attached).

"If passed this bill will ensure that states and local communities will be able to make their own decisions about preventing HIV and hepatitis C based on the scientific evidence without political interference from the federal government, said Ronald Johnson, Deputy Executive Director of AIDS Action. "Since there are more than 200 communities throughout the United States that already rely on syringe exchange programs with little problem, this is a welcome development."

Eight federally funded research reports concluded that needle and syringe programs, as part of a comprehensive HIV prevention strategy, are an effective public health intervention that reduces HIV transmission without increasing the use of illicit drugs. Research has also shown that syringe programs are important in preventing hepatitis C transmission. The federal government certified in 1998 that syringe exchange reduces the transmission of HIV infections and does not raise the level of drug abuse. Transmission of HIV related to intrave
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SOURCE AIDS Action
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