Australia: UN Official Backs Kings Cross Injecting Room
August 30, 2010
The executive director of UNAIDS said he is "very impressed" with a medically supervised injection facility operating in Kings Cross. Calling it a "pragmatic, cost-effective" approach to preventing HIV, Michel Sidibe declined to comment on the entanglement of the pilot project's future with state elections.
"The decision is local," Sidibe said. "It should be taken by politicians after reviewing the center; but from an evidence point of view, what I saw is not harmful, it's the opposite."
Since the facility's launch in 2001, ambulance calls to Kings Cross have declined 80 percent, said Dr. Marianne Jauncey, the injection center's medical director. In that time, the facility has averted more than 3,500 medical overdoses without a fatality and seen about 12,000 clients. The site supervises an average of 200 injections a day.
"It is clear it saves people's lives," Jauncey said. "We have to ask, how much more evidence do we need?"
Sidibe, in Australia to attend a UN summit in Melbourne, did urge federal officials to end immigration restrictions on non-nationals with HIV. "To know that in Australia, we have restrictions for people living with HIV to come and to stay is a little bit painful for me," he said.
Sydney Morning Herald
08.28.2010; Louise Hall
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.
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