One-third of new HIV cases in the U.S. are due to injection drug use, and HIV/AIDS has decimated the African-American community in particular. That is why it is no surprise that the NAACP and other advocacy groups chose Thursday–which was National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day–to call on Congress to repeal a ban on federal funding for needle exchange programs. There is some political controversy over this ban, because many politicians are afraid to look like they are supporting drug use, but public health advocacy groups are generally in favor of repealing the ban because of the demonstrated effects of needle exchange programs.
A quote from a supporter of repeal from the article:
Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Wednesday said that he supports needle-exchange programs. In a separate statement, Fauci said the high rates of HIV/AIDS among blacks require “drastic action.” He added, “In particular, black leaders — religious, secular and political — have a key role to play in reducing the stigma often associated with HIV/AIDS and influencing African-Americans to get tested, counseled and treated” (Crary, AP/Seattle Times, 2/6).