Bill Clears Way for D.C. to Fund Needle-Exchange Programs
December 28 2007 1:00 AM ET
A nine-year ban
on city funding for needle-exchange programs in the
District of Columbia has been lifted, a move city officials
say is key to reducing the soaring rate of AIDS and
HIV infections in the U.S. capital.
W. Bush on Wednesday signed a $555 billion federal
spending bill that includes a provision allowing the city to
spend its own money on programs that provide clean
hypodermic needles to drug users. Federal spending
packages dating back to 1998 had blocked such
Norton, the city's congressional delegate, said the ban
has contributed to Washington's AIDS rate, which is higher
than that of any other major city in the country,
according to a recent report on the epidemic.
Mayor Adrian M.
Fenty said in a statement the city plans to include
needle exchanges in a larger program to reduce HIV
infections. About $1 million will be devoted to the
About 128 of
every 100,000 Washington residents have AIDS, compared with
14 cases per 100,000 people nationwide, according to the
study released in November.
Rates are highest
among the city's black population, and HIV, the virus
that causes AIDS, is spreading most quickly among black
women. The city estimates that 20% of transmissions
are between intravenous drug users who share dirty
programs offer clean needles to drug users in return for
their used syringes. Advocates say the programs also cut
down on the transmission of other diseases such as
hepatitis. The programs are used by cities nationwide.
But in 1998 two
Republicans from outside Washington -- a congressman and
a senator -- inserted language in the federal spending
package that blocked the district from funding needle
Canadian studies that suggested the programs failed to stop
the spread of HIV and may have contributed to a rise in drug
overdoses. The authors of the studies said
congressional officials misinterpreted their report.
The ban persisted
in subsequent federal spending bills, forcing private
funding of exchange programs in the city. But Norton said
the shift in power in Congress from Republicans to
Democrats this year allowed for the elimination of the
local funding ban.
member Jim Graham, the former head of a city clinic that
focuses on AIDS and HIV, said a city-funded needle-exchange
program will have a significant impact on the
district's high rate of infection.
will save lives,'' he said. (Stephen Manning, AP)
- We Love Liberace Now Even More Than 30 Years Ago
- Multiple Attacks on Gay Men in NYC, Hours After Rally
- Op-ed: Adopting the T in LGBT
- Porn Star Wilfried Knight Commits Suicide After Long Battle With Immigration
- Schumer Admits Reason He Left Gays Out of Immigration 'Provides Little Comfort'
- French Marriage Equality Opponent Commits Suicide at Notre Dame
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Current Issue We Love Liberace Now Even More Than 30 Years Ago 28 min 58 sec ago
- Sports Water Polo Player Addresses WeHo City Council in Speedo May 22 2013 10:00 PM
- Comics and Graphic Novels This Gay Superhero Comic Is So Super Duper May 22 2013 9:00 PM
- The End of Bullying Could Video Games Be a Cure for Anti-LGBT Bullying? May 22 2013 8:15 PM
- Women Kaitlyn Hunt's Lawyer: Possible Plea Deal, But No Felony For Same-Sex High School Relationship May 22 2013 7:03 PM
- Military Donald Rumsfeld Isn't Sure, But Marriage Equality Might Lead to Polygamy May 22 2013 7:01 PM
- Internet WATCH: The First AIDS Generation in Giant Town Hall May 22 2013 6:16 PM