Needle-Exchange Programs in Washington, D.C., To Expand by Summer
Needle-exchange programs in Washington, D.C, likely will expand by the summer, when $494,000 in city funding will begin "flowing to four organizations on the front line of the fight against HIV/AIDS," the Washington Post reports (Levine, Washington Post, 4/25). City officials in January announced that the district would invest in needle-exchange programs to help prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users in the city. The announcement came after President Bush signed a fiscal year 2008 omnibus spending bill (HR 2764) that effectively lifted a ban on city funding for needle-exchange programs in the district. Since 1999, the district has been the only U.S. city barred by federal law from using local funds for needle-exchange programs (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 1/3).
More than half of the city funding will go to PreventionWorks!, which plans to expand its outreach efforts to include more comprehensive screening for the clients of its mobile van service. According to Shannon Hader, director of the district's HIV/AIDS Administration, the three other not-for-profit groups that will receive funding bring "very different" approaches to needle exchanges. The groups are:
Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive, which focuses on men and women who engage in commercial sex work;
Bread for the City, which assists impoverished and homeless people through a variety of programs; and
- Family Medical and Counseling Service, which operates as a "more tradition health care provider" in the city's Ward 8, according to the Post.
Hader said that each group will build on work it already does with IDUs, adding that funding is expected to double in 2009 and be continued through 2010 (Washington Post, 4/25). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.