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Governor Brown Signs Important HIV Prevention Bill Expanding Access to Sterile Syringes in California Pharmacies
Date:10/10/2011

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 10, 2011/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This morning Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that will dramatically advance California's ability to prevent the spread of HIV and other life-threatening blood-borne diseases among the state's most vulnerable citizens. The bill, SB 41, authorizes the sale of clean syringes to adults at pharmacies statewide without a prescription.  The new law means California now has another powerful tool proven to stop the spread of HIV, hepatitis C, and other deadly diseases.

"In signing this important piece of legislation, Governor Brown reaffirms his commitment to addressing the tremendous health disparities that persist statewide, particularly for people at risk for and living with HIV," said Neil Giuliano, CEO of San Francisco AIDS Foundation.  "We salute Governor Brown for his bold action on this important issue, and for the message he's sending to his peers nationwide – that in tough economic times, investing in disease prevention is the right choice."

HIV and hepatitis C are two of the most commonly transmitted blood-borne diseases among people who share syringes. In California, approximately 750 people are infected with HIV every year from a shared syringe.  The lifetime cost of treating HIV/AIDS is now estimated to exceed $600,000 per patient.

More than 200 studies reviewed by the World Health Organization show that improved syringe access reduces the rate of HIV transmission, without increasing rates of drug use, drug injection, or crime. To date, no study has found otherwise.  San Francisco AIDS Foundation provides more than 2.4 million clean syringes every year.  Its Syringe Access Services program has contributed to an HIV transmission rate via intravenous drug use in San Francisco well below the national average.  

"We see first-hand the health benefits of offering sterile syringes to members of our community in San Francisco," said Courtney Mul
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SOURCE San Francisco AIDS Foundation
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