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

CALIFORNIA: San Diego City Council Grants $51,000 for Needle- Exchange Program


San Diego Reader (04.11.12) - Thursday, April 12, 2012

The San Diego City Council this week approved a $51,000 grant for the Safe Point San Diego needle-exchange program (NEP) run by Family Health Centers of San Diego.

Launched in 2001 to reduce HIV and hepatitis C transmission among injecting drug users, Safe Point provides needle- exchange services from its mobile unit two days a week: on Thursday evenings downtown, and on Friday mornings in North Park. IDUs can exchange up to 30 used syringes for new ones. Safe Point also offers case management, educational services, and referrals to drug treatment.

Family Health has received funding from several charitable groups to support Safe Point, according to spokesperson Ben Avery. He added that the city will support the outreach through 2013 with Community Development Block Grant funds.

Family Health's funding application states that the program has prevented the improper disposal of more than 1.5 million used syringes and made 29,773 referrals to support services since its launch. Safe Point was funded originally by Alliance Healthcare Foundation, which ended its support in June 2010.

Members of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, however, oppose NEPs, which they believe encourage drug use. Avery said he is not aware of any move by supervisors "to reconsider their opposition to the program."


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