Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Approves Needle-Exchange Program To Curb Spread of HIV
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 to approve a needle-exchange program in an effort to curb the spread of HIV and other bloodborne diseases, the Los Angeles Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 3/14). The one-year program is expected to cost about $500,000, which will be paid for with tobacco settlement funds. According to Public Health Director Jonathan Fielding, there are an estimated 120,000 to 190,000 injection drug users in Los Angeles, 45% of whom share needles. The needle exchange program, which will target heroin users, will be available at the Asian American Drug Abuse Program, BIENESTAR, Common Ground-The Westside HIV Community Center, Public Health Foundation Enterprises and Tarzana Treatment Centers (CBS 2, 3/13). Supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe questioned the benefits of a needle-exchange program and said that money should be used for education and rehabilitation. Supervisors Gloria Molina, Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and Zev Yaroslavsky voted to approve the program (Los Angeles Times, 3/14).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.