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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

CALIFORNIA: Bill Would Allow State Money for Syringes


Bay Area Reporter (San Francisco) (09.13.07) - Thursday,

On Wednesday, the California State Assembly voted 43-30 for a bill to allow state HIV/AIDS funds to be used to buy syringes for needle exchange programs (NEPs). If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs AB 110 into law, NEPs would have to match 43 cents in general funds for every dollar in state funding used to purchase syringes.

By promoting sterile needle use, NEPs are credited with decreasing hepatitis C and HIV rates among injection drug users (IDUs), for whom needle-sharing can transmit the blood- borne diseases. The bill's author, Assembly member John Laird (D-Santa Cruz), said support for the measure has grown as people realize the programs are working.

Last week, a report by the national Center for Health Improvement found that although local California jurisdictions are empowered to authorize NEPs, most do not. In San Francisco, health officials support NEPs that together distribute about 2.5 million needles per year.

"San Francisco has been so progressive in the distribution of needles, and we still don't have enough funds to meet the need," said Tracey Brown, executive director of Tenderloin Health, which provides about 200,000 needles per year. More money would help keep supplies from running out every couple of months, Brown noted.

Advocates who worked with the governor's office to craft AB 110 are optimistic Schwarzenegger will sign the measure.


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Information in this article was accurate in September 13, 2007. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.