It is "about time" the NAACP, National Urban League and other "black-oriented" advocacy groups "threw their support behind federal funding for needle-exchange programs," a Detroit Free Press editorial says (Detroit Free Press, 2/13).
The NAACP, NUL and other groups on Feb. 7 -- National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day -- called on Congress to repeal a 20-year-old ban on federal funding for needle-exchange programs. Injection drug use contributes to one-third of new HIV cases in the U.S., and it accounts for a higher proportion of HIV cases among blacks compared with whites. According to federal figures, blacks comprised 13% of the U.S. population but accounted for about half of new HIV/AIDS cases in 2005. Despite the ban on federal funding, more than 200 needle-exchange programs have been established nationwide -- including in Washington, D.C., and New Jersey -- in an effort to reduce the spread of HIV among injection drug users (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 2/13).
The Free Press says the government should "acknowledge reality" and fund needle-exchange programs, as well as prevention and treatment programs for injection drug users. According to the editorial, not all IDUs "are going to be reached by treatment," and needle-exchange programs can keep IDUs "safer from HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other problems." The editorial concludes that needle-exchange programs are an "important reality-based form" of HIV prevention (Detroit Free Press, 2/13).
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Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2008 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.