Monday, October 02, 2006

Needle Exchange Debates

Progress in New Jersey

New Jersey has long prohibited the distribution of hypodermic needles in government-sanctioned programs and is the only state in the union still to do so. Now, 4 in 10 cases of HIV infections in New Jersey result from injecting drug use with contaminated needles. 14 years after the legislation was first introduced, lawmakers are reviewing a bill that finally appears to have enough support to win passage. The bill would allow needle-exchange programs and even Governor
Jon Corzine has expressed support.

The New York Times reported on this story (September 25):

US AIDS policy: Still hostile to Evidence and Rights

On an international front, American officials withdrew their support for needle exchange programs at the WHO’s Asia-Pacific conference last week. They submitted last-minute proposals to a resolution calling for universal access to HIV/AIDS treatment that, in Peter Hodgson’s view, New Zealand’s Health Minister, would have watered down the resolution. He said “[the U.S.] position is that if they have needle exchanges then people will use needles more and use intravenous drugs more…I think it is demonstrably wrong”.

“Demonstrably wrong” pretty much says it all.

The Associated Press reported on this story in the IHT (September 25):

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