Coalition Letter on Syringe Exchange Programs

Document Date: July 14, 2009

Annually, nearly 8,000 people in the United States contract HIV/AIDS and approximately12,000 people contract the hepatitis C virus directly or indirectly from sharing contaminatedsyringes. Syringe exchange programs are proven to be cost-effective and lifesaving, do notpromote drug use, and provide a conduit to primary health care for hard to reach populations. Forthe first time since 1989, the Labor, Health and Human Services subcommittee has removed theban on federal funding of syringe exchange programs from the FY 2010 Appropriations bill. Wethank the subcommittee for its leadership in using science-based research to bring an endto the decades-old ban. As organizations dedicated to the eradication of HIV/AIDS andadvocacy on behalf of those infected and affected by the epidemic, we strongly urge the fullAppropriations Committee to support the Labor, Health and Human Servicessubcommittee in its decision to remove the ban. Further, we urge you to vote against anyamendment that would reinstate the federal ban or put further restrictions on syringeexchange.

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