Pubdate: Mon, 13 Nov 2000
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Copyright: 2000 The Gazette Newspapers
Contact:  P.O. Box 1090, Schenectady, NY 12301-1090
Fax: (518) 395-3072
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Author: Julia Reynolds


Unfortunately, an estimated three out of four AIDS cases among women 
are due to injected drug use or heterosexual contact with someone 
infected with HIV through injected drug use, and over 75 percent of 
new infections in children result from the consequences of injected 
drug use in a parent.

Even those who take a strong stand against drug use must admit that 
IV drug addicts do not really deserve to contract painful and deadly 
diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. In addition, their children do not 
deserve HIV or other intravenous diseases; they should not be 
punished for the actions of their parents.

Needle exchange programs exist in various places around the country, 
but thus far, the government has refused to fund such programs. In 
doing so, the government has missed a good opportunity to stem the 
spread of HIV, which is causing many, many deaths.

Continued drug use is an addiction. It is not something that can be 
easily stopped, and addicts are going to continue using drugs with or 
without clean needles. At least with needle exchange programs, the 
spread of HIV and other similarly transferred diseases could be 

A decrease of even the smallest amount would be a significant 
improvement. Between 1991 and 1997, the U.S. government funded seven 
reports on clean needle programs for persons who inject drugs. The 
conclusions were unanimous that clean needle programs reduce HIV 
transmission, and none found that clean needle programs cause rates 
of drug use to increase. Such programs also offer resources and 
support which could lead an addict into treatment.

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