Taiwan Health Department To Expand Needle-Exchange Program
Taiwan's Department of Health on Tuesday said it plans to expand a needle-exchange pilot program -- which aims to curb the spread of HIV among injection drug users -- to every city and county in Taiwan, Taiwan's Central News Agency reports. The health department in July 2005 allocated about $922,000 for the program -- which has distributed 15,625 sets of needles and syringes to 1,925 IDUs in Taipei City, Taipei County, Taoyuan County and Tainan County to date -- according to Yang Shih-yang, director of Taiwan's Center for Disease Control. The program also provides HIV testing and counseling and heroin substitutes such as methadone at no cost. Yang said the health department this year plans to provide 10 million sets of syringes with needles and establish 200 distribution points across Taiwan to provide methadone. According to health department data, about 80% of Taiwan's HIV cases are associated with injection drug use (Han, Central News Agency, 3/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.