New amfAR Film Makes Powerful Case for Syringe Services Programs
Film urges lawmakers to rescind the ban on federal funding for syringe services programs
NEW YORK, February 28, 2013 - amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research on February
28 announced the release of a new short film that shows in very human terms the proven ability of syringe services programs (often called
syringe exchange programs) to reduce the spread of blood-borne diseases, including HIV. Moreover, as the film and the evidence
demonstrate, these programs also save money, encourage the safe disposal of syringes, minimize the risk of needlestick
injuries to law enforcement officials, and help give people who inject drugs access to vital drug treatment services.
The 10-minute film, titled "The Exchange," was produced by Waterbound Pictures with funding from the Open Society Foundations. It can
be viewed at www.amfar.org/endtheban , where visitors can also find
additional information about this important issue.
In 2009, Congress removed a 21-year prohibition on the use of federal funds to support syringe services programs, only to
reinstate the ban two years later. In 2013, even as injection drug use continues to contribute substantially to the spread of HIV and
hepatitis C, federal public health funds are unavailable for syringe exchange.
"This is a battle we've been fighting for over two decades," said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. "With this film, we hope
to get the message across that it's time to remove this ban once and for all. It's anti-public health and it flies in the face of a
large body of evidence that shows that syringe exchange programs are effective, don't increase drug use, and don't increase crime."
Syringe services programs are not illegal throughout most of the country, and more than 200 are currently operating in
34 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Through interviews with syringe exchange staff, public
health officials, former drug users, and law enforcement, the film distills a wide range of experiences and perspectives into
a powerful argument in favor of syringe exchange.
"Our film also underscores the human and economic benefits of syringe services programs," said amfAR Vice President and
Director of Public Policy Chris Collins. "With a relatively modest investment, these programs save millions of taxpayer dollars through
the health care costs they avert by preventing infections."
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world's leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested more than $366 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide. www.amfar.org
Source:amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
"Reproduced with permission - amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research"
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
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