Levi Strauss Foundation, Tides Foundation, National AIDS Fund Launch Syringe Access Fund
The Levi Strauss Foundation, the Tides Foundation and the National AIDS Fund on Monday announced the formation of the Syringe Access Fund, a multi-year initiative that will support programs that make clean syringes available to injection drug users in order to curb the spread of HIV and other bloodborne illnesses such as hepatitis C, according to a joint release. The initiative will expand syringe availability in five states -- California, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Florida -- and the District of Columbia. Over the next two years, the Levi Strauss Foundation, the Tides Foundation and the National AIDS Fund plan to provide $1 million in funding for the Syringe Access Fund, which will support syringe-exchange programs and state-level public education efforts. "This initiative is especially important because it has been proven that syringe-exchange programs save lives and are cost effective, yet there is an inadequate amount of public and private resources targeting access to clean syringes," Stuart Burden, U.S. program director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, said. Tides Foundation Senior Philanthropic Adviser Michelle Coffey said, "The Syringe Access Fund is an important step and an important statement in the evolution of United States-based HIV/AIDS grantmaking." National AIDS Fund President and CEO Kandy Ferree said, "These programs are often the gateway for getting hard-to-reach individuals into HIV testing and treatment services and do not increase drug use." According to the release, injection drug use directly or indirectly accounts for approximately one-third of all AIDS cases in the United States (Levi Strauss Foundation/Tides Foundation/National AIDS Fund release, 3/22).
Needle Disposal Web Site
The Academy for Educational Development has developed a Web site for CDC -- cdc.gov/needledisposal -- to provide state-by-state summaries of needle disposal laws and regulations, according to an AED release. The Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal estimates that three billion medical injections each year occur outside of medical settings, and an additional one billion recreational drug injections occur each year, according to the release. "Safe disposal of used needles, syringes and other sharps ... is a public health priority," Margaret Anderson, deputy director of the AED Center on AIDS and Community Health, said, adding, "Many of these needles are simply discarded in household garbage, putting solid waste workers and the public at risk of diseases such as HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis." In addition to regulations and guidelines concerning medical waste disposal, the Web site provides contact information for the state public health, waste management and environmental protection agencies responsible for syringe disposal (AED release, 3/16).