Springfield, Mass., Residents Support Needle Exchange Program to Fight AIDS in Community
Springfield, Mass., residents "overwhelmingly supported" the adoption of a needle-exchange program at a public forum on Sunday, with 22 of the 27 people who responded to a meeting survey favoring such programs, the Springfield Union News reports. The CDC ranks the Springfield metropolitan area 11th in the nation in the rate of new AIDS cases per 100,000 people. At the meeting, Tapestry Health Systems representative Cara Siano cited statistics from New Haven, Conn., which showed a 43% reduction in new AIDS cases and savings of $10 million with the introduction of a needle-exchange program. She noted that the cost of treating each AIDS patient is $180,000, and one study showed that needle-exchange programs prevent at least 55 new cases of HIV infection. Siano added that needle exchanges do not increase drug use. City Councilor Timothy Rooke said he favors education and preventive measures and alternatives to needle exchanges, calling the programs "flawed." But Forest Park resident Jane Hetzel responded to Rooke, "I need to know ... what you are actively doing now. It's not working" (Doro, Springfield Union News, 4/2).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.