Pelosi: Lifting the Ban on Federal Funding for Syringe Exchange is a Victory for Science and for Public Health
Contact: Brendan Daly/Nadeam Elshami/Drew Hammill, 202-226-7616
Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement today applauding the inclusion of language in the fiscal year 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act lifting the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange initiatives to prevent the spread of HIV. The omnibus bill passed the House this afternoon by a vote of 221 to 202.
"The scientific support for syringe exchange could not be more clear. As Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH has said, "˜Clearly, needle exchange programs work. There is no doubt about that.' More specifically, as Dr. Fauci confirmed during a 2008 hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the science shows syringe exchanges effectively reduce new HIV infections without increasing the use of illegal drugs.
"In addition to the NIH, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, the American Medical Association, the American Pediatric Association, the American Public Health Association and former Surgeon General David Satcher have all confirmed the scientific evidence in support of syringe exchange as part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention.
"Sound science is an essential component of good public health policy, and science must come first in our public health policy decisions. The language lifting the ban on the use of federal funds for syringe exchange appropriately allows local public health and law enforcement officials to determine where exchanges should operate in their communities.
"Injection drug use is linked to 12 percent of new HIV infections, as well as most Hepatitis C infections. Lifting the ban on federal funding for syringe exchange is a big victory for science and for public health.
"We simply cannot rest until we have done everything possible to prevent new HIV infections, including ensuring access to proven interventions such as syringe exchange. We cannot rest until every person living with HIV has access to the care and medications they need to stay healthy. And we cannot rest until we have a cure."