Worcester, Mass., Task Force Supports Creation of Needle-Exchange Program
The Worcester, Mass., HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis C Task Force has issued a report supporting the creation of a needle-exchange program to help curb the spread of both diseases, the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reports. The report states that Worcester's HIV infection rate is "alarmingly high" and that the majority of people at risk for the disease are injection drug users and their sexual partners. It adds, "Education and prevention services should, ideally, be placed in combination with an access to clean syringes program," which could be operated through doctors' offices, pharmacies or community health settings. The report also said that the rate of HIV and hepatitis C infection could be lessened by alterations in existing laws pertaining to needle possession. The Telegram & Gazette reports that city officials have been "loath" to adopt a needle-exchange program. The report also recommended more outreach and collaboration efforts on HIV and hepatitis C; the adoption of a "more factual and detailed" HIV and hepatitis C prevention program in city schools; and HIV and hepatitis C training for all local health care providers. Edla Bloom, executive director of AIDS Project Worcester and a member of the task force, said she hopes to present the report to the City Council and the City Health Committee (Nangle, Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 7/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.