Developing A Clean Needle Exchange Program

1517 Words 6 Pages
Thousands Less Could Have Had HIV
If you were to randomly line up 100 residents of Washington D.C., you can be assured that about three of them are living with HIV/AIDS. Washington D.C. has had the highest AIDS diagnosis rate in the country for years, and a high percentage of those cases are a result of injection drug use. With those statistics in mind, one would expect implementing a clean needle exchange program to be incontestable. Former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr is opposed, and made his opposition public during a 1999 Congressional hearing on battling the HIV epidemic. Congressman Barr said, “I would also remind our colleges of a very basic principle – if you give people the means to do something and encourage them to do it, well for heaven’s sake, no surprise, they will do it.” Congressman Barr’s opposition is even more ridiculous when one learns that at the time of his statement, Georgia had a needle exchange program. Barr’s opposition to a program that, once implemented reduced the monthly rate of new HIV infections among injection drug users by 70 percent and is saving around $44 million in lifetime costs for HIV/AIDS care, is revolting but not surprising. Washington D.C.’s lack of a vote in Congress, leaves their Congressional Representative without the ability to establish continued relationships, which in turns prevents the representative from understanding the preferences held by others representatives, and thus prevents the representative and therefore the

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