AHF Calls on Congress to Fund Needle Exchange Nationwide

Washington Post reports District of Columbia saw a 70% drop in HIV
infection among drug users “…after the District implemented a needle
exchange program in 2008, according to a study…released Thursday.”

Advocates call on Congress to fund needle exchange programs
nationwide following an HIV outbreak among I.V. drug users in Austin,
Ind., that has infected over 175 people in town of 4,200 since December.

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On the heels of a significant recent outbreak of HIV in Austin, Indiana,
driven by I.V. drug use that resulted in more than 175 new HIV
infections, AIDS
Healthcare Foundation
(AHF) calls on Congress to fund needle
exchange programs nationwide. The Washington
Post
reported yesterday that District of Columbia saw a 70% drop in
HIV infection among drug users “…after the District implemented a
needle exchange program in 2008, according to a study…released Thursday.”

“Needle exchange is often viewed by many elected officials as a third
rail public health strategy or approach, but the success of the District
of Columbia’s program—a remarkable 70% decrease in HIV infections among
drug users—and the increase in I.V. drug use and HIV infection rates in
rural places like Austin, Indiana, and other forgotten small towns can
no longer be denied. Congress needs to simply ‘get over it’ and fund
needle exchange programs nationwide,” said AHF
President Michael Weinstein. “Funding such programs will not only
save lives, but ultimately save taxpayer dollars, as the CDC says the lifetime
costs
of caring for a single person with HIV/AIDS is over $379,000.
Our advocates will be making legislative visits on the Hill over the
next several months urging legislators to fund needle exchange.”

Since December 2014, an outbreak of HIV among I.V. drug users in Austin,
Ind., has infected over 175 people in town of just 4,200. Most, if not
all of these infections were a result of intravenous drug use and the
sharing of contaminated needles.

“When people are battling drug addiction, the last thing that needs to
happen is for an HIV diagnosis to be added to their struggles,” said Garith
Fulman
, Midwest Director of Policy & Advocacy for AHF. “Some people
may wrongly see needle exchange programs as a moral compromise in
support of drug use, but the success of these programs in curbing the
spread of HIV clearly show that giving patients access to clean needles
is actually saving lives. In addition, nearly all of the people found to
be HIV-infected in Austin are also co-infected with Hepatitis C, another
serious infection that requires significant—and at $1,000 a pill,
expensive—medical treatment.”

After learning of the situation in Austin, AHF deployed one of its free
mobile testing vans to Indiana in mid-April. AHF has also been working
closely with Indiana officials on administering a mobile HIV program and
opening an HIV/AIDS treatment clinic with Dr. William Cooke, the
City of Austin’s only physician. AHF will continue to partner with local
and state health and government officials, including Austin Mayor
Douglas Campbell
and State Representative Terry Goodin, to
address the escalating crisis and provide other needed HIV/AIDS services
as they may arise.

AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS
organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over
465,000 individuals in 36 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin
America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn
more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org,
find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth
and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare
and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.

Contacts

AHF
Ged Kenslea
Senior Director, Communications
+1-323-308-1833
work
+1-323-791-5526 mobile
gedk@aidshealth.org
or
AHF
Christopher
Johnson

Associate Director of Communications
+1-323-960-4846
work
+1-310-880-9913 mobile
christopher.johnson@aidshealth.org

Alrededor de la web