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April 5, 1995

Released Report Says Needle Exchanges Work

JAMA. 1995;273(13):980-981. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520370018005

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A CONCERTED EFFORT is under way to get public support for lifting the ban on federal funds for needle exchange programs among intravenous drug users. The Foundation for Drug Policy, a Washington, DC—based activist group that has long supported such programs, says there is now firm evidence that doing so would reduce transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

It is estimated that about one third of reported cases of AIDS are related directly or indirectly to injection drug use.

The funding ban was put in place by Congress in 1988, but contained a proviso that if it were shown that needle exchange programs were effective in reducing the spread of HIV and did not encourage illegal drug use, it could be lifted.

The evidence on both of these points is now in hand, maintains David C. Condliffe, executive director of the Foundation for Drug Policy. For the convenience of

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