President’s Budget Restores Community Control on Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange

WASHINGTON, February 13, 2012 – AIDS United today applauded President Obama and the Administration for including a provision in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 budget that if enacted into law would allow local communities the power to use federal funds for the purpose of syringe exchange.  Congress had removed a federal ban in favor of the local control provision in the FY 2010 appropriations bill but irresponsibly went back to a ban on the use of federal funds for syringe exchange programs in the FY 2012 appropriations bill.  Ending the ban has been an important and long overdue goal for the public health, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis communities.  In a letter to the President earlier this year, AIDS United had called for restoration of the local control language allowing the use of federal funding for syringe exchange.

The language supported by the Obama administration would allow funding for syringe exchange programs as long as sites were supported by local health and law enforcement authorities.  “President Obama is right to seek restoration of the provision allowing federal funding for syringe exchange programs, said Ronald Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy.  “Numerous studies show that syringe exchange programs reduce HIV and viral hepatitis infections, are cost-effective, serve as a bridge to health care services for hard-to-reach populations, protect communities and law enforcement officials from accidental needle sticks and infection, and provide access to substance abuse treatment for injection drug users.  AIDS United strongly urges Congress to follow the President’s lead and allow federal funding of syringe exchange programs subject to local control in the Labor, Health and Human Services Appropriations bill,” he added. 

AIDS United notes that this press release is solely directed to the issue of syringe exchange.  AIDS United continues to review the rest of the budget for HIV/AIDS spending and other health care issues and may make additional comments.  Please check AIDS United’s website at www.aidsunited.org for updates. 

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