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AIDS Action Network Fax

July 3, 1997

CDC to release new AIDS deaths data at First National State of AIDS Forum. Is there a downward trend?

AIDS Action next week will convene the first national forum on the state of the AIDS epidemic in the context of promising new AIDS drug therapies and declining death rates. The July 14 AIDS Action State of AIDS Forum will open with the release of new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on AIDS mortality in the United States. AIDS experts are anxiously awaiting the CDC's release of these figures to determine whether the historic drop in AIDS deaths announced last year has continued. AIDS experts and people with HIV/AIDS from across the country will then announce the results of studies detailing the changing face of the epidemic and discuss the challenges facing communities that continue to grapple with AIDS. The forum brings together chief executive officers of the nation's leading AIDS service providers, Clinton administration officials, public health and AIDS policy experts, clinicians, and people with HIV/AIDS. The forum begins at 9 a.m., Monday, July 14, in the National Press Club's Main Ballroom. Members of the media should contact Kurt Schade at (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3060, for media credentials. For other media queries, call Jos/ Zuniga at (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3042.

AMA joins Mayors, AIDS Action in calling for elimination of Federal needle exchange restrictions.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has joined the chorus of scientists, community leaders, and AIDS advocates calling on Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna Shalala to eliminate restrictions on the use of federal funds for needle exchange programs. The AMAs announcement, made June 27 at its annual meeting in Chicago, came three days after the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a bipartisan resolution urging Shalala to allow science to guide policy-making around the needle exchange issue. Congress has imposed two conditions for the release of federal funds for needle exchange programs - that they are proved effective means of curbing HIV transmission, and that they do not contribute to increased drug use. Six federally funded reports, including an HHS report released this year, have concluded that needle exchange programs should be a component of HIV prevention, and that there is no compelling evidence of increased drug use in communities where needle exchange programs currently ope rate. AIDS Action urges Shalala to certify that the congressionally imposed conditions have been met.

FDA 'Reform' Bill up for consideration after recess. Patients' Coalition hosts FDA Media Briefing July 7.

After the July 4 recess, the Senate is set to vote on a bill aimed at amending the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act, one of the nation's most important and fundamental pieces of consumer protection legislation. AIDS Action and other patient and consumer advocacy groups are vehemently opposed to the legislation, instead urging that Congress maintain a strong Food and Drug Administration (FDA). AIDS Action opposes the bill because it makes significant changes to the FDA that could jeopardize drug safety and, thus, endanger the lives of millions of Americans. In an attempt to air consumer perspectives on the FDA "reform" bill - for which there were no public hearings -- the Patients' Coalition will host a media briefing at 10 a.m., July 7, at the National Press Club. The press conference will feature several consumer protection advocates, consumers, and former Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, a staunch supporter of a strong FDA. AIDS Action is a member of the Patients' Coalition.

National Coalition to hold First Annual Conference focused on PHS's 340B Drug Discount Program.

The 340B Covered Entity Coalition, of which AIDS Action is a member, is holding a one-day conference July 18 designed exclusively for entities that qualify for significant discounts on outpatient drugs under Section 340B of the Public Health Services Act. Conference highlights include a panel discussion on legislative issues such as recent efforts by the drug industry to repeal and restrict Section 340B's Drug Discount Program. The conference runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at the Loews L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, in Washington, D.C. For more information about the conference, call Michelle Parker or Ted Slafsky at (202) 408-0223 or (202) 624-7346, respectively.


Media queries related to AIDSfax items should be made to José Zuñiga, (202) 986-1300, Ext. 3042.

AIDS Action: The National Voice on AIDS
1875 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20009 (202) 986-1300.

For more information contact:
José Zuñiga
AIDS Action Council
1875 Connecticut Avenue NW #700
Washington DC 20009
202-986-1300, extension 3042
202-986-1345 (fax)
202-332-9614 (tty)

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This article was provided by AIDS Action Council.