Baltimore Needle-Exchange Program Celebrates 10th Anniversary, Decline in New IDU-Related HIV Cases
Baltimore last weekend celebrated the 10th anniversary of its needle-exchange program, which has collected more than six million used needles since its inception and is the largest city-run program in the country, city Health Commissioner Peter Beilenson said, the AP/Wilmington News Journal reports. About 7% of people in the city -- between 50,000 and 55,000 people -- currently use injection drugs, and approximately 14,000 of those people have enrolled in the city's needle-exchange program, according to Beilenson. In addition, more than 2,800 people have been tested for HIV as part of the program, Beilenson said. Liza Solomon, director of the Maryland AIDS Administration, said that the program has helped to reduce HIV transmission among injection drug users. About 61% of the city's 602 new HIV cases at the start of the program were due to injection drug use. By 2002, 39% of the 195 new HIV cases were among injection drug users, according to the AP/News Journal (Witte, AP/Wilmington News Journal, 8/21).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.