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Argument: Needle exchanges are key to fighting HIV/AIDS, saving lives

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"Build on success of needle exchange." Delaware Online. June 26, 2009: "the department wants to reduce the harm of more addictions. And it has some evidence of success to back the plan. [...] During its two years of operation, the pilot Needle Exchange Program enrolled more than 440 clients and tested 1,000 for HIV. These numbers are part of the often-untold good news of AIDS prevention in Delaware. [...] They are also useful in tracking the spread of AIDS and coordinating private services with state resources to reduce the costs of the spread and treatment of the disease. [...] Even without an $800 million budget shortfall to stare down, the General Assembly budget writers have a stake in controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS through intravenous drug use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 20 percent to 25 percent of those with HIV do not know they are infected. This group is responsible for as much as 53 percent of new infections. [...] It's understandable that legislators who represent this part of New Castle County want to review this plan more thoroughly. [...] But harm reduction is at the core of their responsibility as crafters of bills for the public good."


Debra L. O’Neill. "Needle Exchange Programs: A Review of the Issues". Missouri Institute of Mental Health. September 27, 2004: "Research has shown needle exchange programs (NEPs) offer a number of public health benefits in the prevention and reduction of IDUs’ exposure to HIV, HBV, HCV and other diseases. For example: 􀂃 New Haven, Connecticut found a one-third reduction in HIV prevalence after its NEP had been in operation for only 4 months. 􀂃 Researchers found an 18.6% average annual decrease in HIV seroprevalence in cities that had introduced an NEP, compared to an 8.1% annual increase in HIV seroprevalence in cities that had never introduced NEPs. 􀂃 HIV prevalence among NEP attenders in a Canadian city was low, even though high-risk behaviors were common. 􀂃 IDUs in Seattle who had formerly attended an NEP were found to be more likely than non-exchangers to reduce the frequency of injection, to stop injecting altogether, and to remain in drug treatment, while new users of the NEP were five times more likely to enter drug treatment than never-exchangers."


Mark Cichocki. "Should Needle Exchange Be Funded By The Federal Government?". About.com. October 02, 2007: "Proponents of needle exchange site several reasons why the federal government should get involved and offer funding for such programs.

  • Data shows that upwards of 90 percent of heterosexually transmitted HIV is related to IV drug use and the sharing of dirty needles.
  • Data shows that in several communities in the US and around the world, HIV transmission has increased where needle sharing and injecting drug use is common.
  • Many studies have proven that needle exchange programs lead to decreased rate of HIV transmission among IV drug users.
  • Studies have concluded that needle exchange does not increase the incidence of IV drug use.
  • Some studies have shown that entrance into drug treatment programs are increased in the presence of needle exchange programs."


Donna Shalala, Report to the Committee on Appropriations for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies: "Needle exchange reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS by up to 50 percent and does not increase drug use."[1]

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