California: Stanislaus Civil Grand Jury Says Needle Exchange Could Curb HIV, Hepatitis C
July 7, 2008
Stanislaus County should create a needle exchange for IV drug users to curb rising hepatitis C infections and cut HIV transmissions, a civil grand jury recommended on June 30. Last year, the county recorded 519 new hepatitis C cases, and at the current rate it could record 620 new hepatitis C cases for 2008, the grand jury reported.
In 2002, Stanislaus County formed a committee to study the issue of an exchange. And in 2006, the county's police chiefs wrote a letter saying "there may be merit in a needle exchange."
"Both the public health and law enforcement approaches can coexist with the common goal of harm reduction in Stanislaus County ... by providing new syringes to injection drug users in exchange for dirty syringes," the grand jury wrote.
The county should follow a 2006 state law that allows municipalities to establish needle exchange programs as a public health benefit, the jury recommended. In addition, the report suggested examining an exchange program in Fresno as a model of a program that is privately supported.
7.02.2008; Adam Ashton
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.