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Statement By Dr. Paul Zeitz Regarding a Proposed Amendment By Rep. Mark Souder to Prohibit HHS Funding For Needle Exchange

WASHINGTON, July 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives Rules Committee approved an amendment by Representative Mark Souder (R-IN) which prohibits HHS (Health and Human Services) funding for programs which distribute sterile needles or syringes to prevent the spread of blood-borne pathogens such as HIV and hepatitis. The amendment reads as follows:

At the end of the bill (before the short title), insert the following: Sec.___. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide individuals with hypodermic needles or syringes under section 300ee-5 of title 42, United States Code.

GAA executive director Dr. Paul Zeitz today issued the following statement about this amendment.

"If this amendment passes we believe it will ban federal funding of syringe exchange in the U.S. and may disrupt current syringe exchange operations that have been proven through medical and scientific research to prevent the spread of HIV and other blood-borne pathogens. There is no basis in fact that distribution of sterile needles and syringes to intravenous drug users in any way encourages illegal drug use. Representative Souder's amendment is an egregious example of policy that is based on misinformation and discriminatory attitudes. We call on the U.S. House of Representatives to repudiate Rep. Souder's amendment, and to reaffirm its support for the existing evidence-based regulations which permit needle exchange."

SOURCE Global AIDS Alliance
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