For twenty-one years there was a policy of banning 'needle exchange' - a program which would hinder the spread of HIV/AIDS. Two years ago in a moment of sanity the ban was lifted and public health policy stopped being a political football. Now it appears that the new spending bill will reinstate the needle exchange ban and proceed once again with a policy that will guarantee the spread of HIV/AIDS through dirty and used needles.
The new horrific ban includes both funding of international and domestic programs. Republicans in the House of Representatives insisted that the ban once again become policy ignoring all scientific, medical and health experts' advice about the consequences of this action. The primary spread of HIV/AIDS in America is through unclean needles. Making it impossible to finance the distribution of clean needles by healthcare workers and other outlet will simply indisputably increase the number of people with HIV/AIDS.
Studies have show that HIV infection rates drop by 5% in areas where needle exchange exists and increase by the same rates in areas without the programs. This blow to a much needed prevention plan comes as money is running out for ADAP programs that provide urgently needed treatments for people with HIV/AIDS.
This new policy will simply kill people and harm thousands of others.