Syringe Access Fund announces first grants
The newly formed Syringe Access Fund, supported by the Levi Strauss Foundation, the Tides Foundation, and the National AIDS Fund, this week announced its first round of grants totaling nearly $1 million for needle-exchange programs aimed at preventing HIV and hepatitis C infections among injection-drug users. A total of $950,000 was awarded to 20 organizations in California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and the District of Columbia for needle-exchange programs and policy activities.
The Syringe Access Fund is focused on expanding access to clean syringes via needle-exchange programs, state-level education programs focusing on policy change, and increasing the collaboration and capacity among needle exchanges across the country. Efforts to expand access to sterile needles have been endorsed by a broad cross section of mainstream public health, scientific, legal, and medical institutions including the American Medical Association, the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Public Health Association, and the American Pharmaceutical Association. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the cost of exchanging a clean syringe is less than 10 cents, significantly less than the estimated $190,000 lifetime cost that is needed to treat a person infected with HIV.
Forty-two percent of the grants were directed toward policy change and advocacy work. More than half of the grant applications were from California; the state received 46.8% of the money awarded by the fund.
For more information about the fund and a complete list of grant recipients go online to www.tidesfoundation.com.