New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday that his office is reorganizing the city's HIV/AIDS services, including having all city agencies report to a single coordinator to improve accountability, and said that his administration will support the creation of a citywide needle-exchange program to reduce HIV and hepatitis transmissions among injection-drug users, Newsday reports. Bloomberg's predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, opposed a needle exchange. All HIV/AIDS service organizations in the city, both public and private, will now report to citywide coordinator for AIDS policy Frank Oldham, Bloomberg announced.
Speaking at the 11th Annual Community Planning Leadership Summit in Manhattan, Bloomberg said the city could do a much better job in HIV treatment and prevention, noting that the city accounts for 3% of the nation's population but is home to 16% of the country's AIDS cases. "For a city on the cutting edge in countless fields, this in unacceptable," Bloomberg said. "We can do better, and we will do better."