Queens, N.Y., will launch its first needle exchange
The New York City borough of Queens will launch its first needle-exchange program in December to help prevent HIV and other blood-borne disease infections among injection-drug users, Newsday reports. The program will be run out of the AIDS Center of Queens County in Long Island City. Program participants will be allowed to exchange an unlimited number of used needles for clean syringes. Previous plans to launch a needle-exchange program in the borough had been thwarted by community opposition to them. The current plan was approved after city health commissioner Thomas Frieden said the lack of such a program in the borough was leading to rising HIV rates among injection-drug users. Needle exchanges already are operating in the city's Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Bronx boroughs. The health department plans to expand the Queens needle exchange in the coming months to also include the communities of Jamaica, Far Rockaway, and Corona.