Syringe Access Fund Announces First Round of Grants for Needle-Exchange Programs in Five States, D.C.
The newly formed Syringe Access Fund on Wednesday announced its first round of grants aimed at supporting needle-exchange programs and policy activities to prevent the spread of HIV among injection drug users, according to a SAF release. The grants total $950,000 and were awarded to 20 organizations in California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington, D.C. SAF -- a grant-making partnership between the Levi Strauss Foundation, Tides Foundation and the National AIDS Fund -- aims to expand access to clean syringes through needle-exchange programs. About 42% of the grant funding was directed toward policy change and advocacy, according to the release. "Although syringe exchange has proven to be the most effective form of HIV prevention for injection drug users available, there still remain many barriers -- mostly political and ideological," Allan Clear, executive director of the Harm Reduction Coalition, which received a SAF grant, said. SAF "recognizes that clean needles save lives. ... [SAF] is supporting a diverse array of organizations including mature, vital syringe-exchange efforts under way in California and New York, as well as newer initiatives in other parts of the country," Stuart Burden, U.S. program director for the Levi Strauss Foundation, said. Mary Lou Moreno of the Border AIDS Partnership in El Paso, Texas, said that the organization's grant would expand access to clean syringes along the U.S.-Mexico border, where a greater risk of HIV exists for injection drug users "due to specific contextual factors -- different economic, social and cultural systems." SAF's goal is to "make sure this work continues and reaches as many people as possible," Michelle Coffey, senior philanthropic adviser at the Tides Foundation, said (SAF release, 9/8).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.