Policy & Politics
Public Opposition Leads Westport, Mass., Board to Reverse Decision on Needle-Exchange Program
May 2, 2005
The Westport, Mass., Board of Selectmen on Thursday unanimously reversed a decision they made on Monday to authorize a needle-exchange program to help prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users in the area, the Boston Globe reports (Abel, Boston Globe, 4/29). The town had been the first in Massachusetts outside of the Boston area to authorize needle exchange as a method of preventing the spread of bloodborne diseases. In Westport -- which has a population of 14,000 -- 43% of HIV/AIDS cases can be traced to injection drug use. In addition, the town is located between the larger cities of New Bedford and Fall River, both of which are confronting simultaneous epidemics of illegal drug use and HIV. Two-thirds of HIV cases in New Bedford and 58% of cases in Fall River between 2001 and 2003 were attributed to sharing needles -- percentages that are substantially higher than the 25% state average. However, both New Bedford and Fall River have rejected needle-exchange programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/28).
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. © 2004 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.