October 21, 2016
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Minority AIDS Council Commends Congress On Lifting Federal Funding Ban on Syringe Exchange


NMAC Commends Congress for Lifting Federal Funding Ban on Syringe Exchange; Calls for Greater Awareness of Continued HIV/AIDS Threat in the U.S. and Abroad



Washington, DC – The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) applauds Congress for lifting the federal funding ban on syringe exchange programs, in the appropriations legislation passed by the Senate on December 13th
“Yesterday’s vote demonstrates Congress’ continued commitment to science-based health policy,” says Paul A. Kawata. “In light of health care funding cuts in many states during the recent economic downturn, increased support for syringe exchange programs will help agencies nationwide continue their work mitigating the impact of HIV, particularly in communities of color, which have been hardest hit by AIDS epidemic since it began.”
NMAC in particular praises the leadership of U.S. Representative David Obey (D-WI), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in calling for the end of the funding ban. Ravinia Hayes-Cozier, NMAC’s Director of Government Relations and Public Policy says, “Far from promoting drug use, harm reduction programs, like syringe exchange, help prevent transmission of HIV and its co-morbidities, like hepatitis A and C, and offer injection drug users a safe gateway to treatment.”
President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon, which will grant local community agencies and law enforcement flexibility in deciding where syringe exchange programs may operate in their communities. “While NMAC applauds this move forward,” Hayes-Cozier says, “we are concerned that the FY2010 appropriations bill includes only minimal increases in domestic and international HIV/AIDS funding overall. These levels reflect an ongoing belief in the U.S. by many – including government officials – that AIDS is not the threat it once was. This couldn’t be further from the truth.”  

In the U.S., injection drug use accounts for 12% of the more than estimated 55,000 new HIV cases that occur annually. African American and Latino communities alone account for 70% of all new infections. If unchecked, HIV will undermine the health of future generations around the world, as indicated in the recent World Health Organization (WHO) report stating that AIDS is the number one killer of women in their childbearing years – ages 15-49 – globally. WHO also estimates that AIDS will be the number one killer in the world by 2030. 

“The global AIDS pandemic is far from over,” says Hayes-Cozier. “Supporting syringe exchange is a positive step in the U.S. to mitigating HIV here and around the world.”

About NMAC
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) has advanced its mission, “to develop leadership within communities of color to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS” since 1987 through individualized capacity building assistance; technical assistance trainings; public policy education programs; national and regional conferences; treatment and research education programs; online and printed resource materials; and a website: http://www.nmac.org/. The agency also serves as a membership association for its constituent AIDS service organizations and minority faith- and community-based organizations delivering HIV/AIDS services in communities of color and advocates on their behalf in Washington, D.C. 

NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. For more information, please contact NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) or communications@nmac.org. You may find us online at http://www.nmac.org/ as well as on Facebook.comWikipedia.comTwitter.comMyPhotoAlbum.com and YouTube.com

Contact: Circe J. Gray LeCompte   Director of Communications   National Minority AIDS Council   Phone: (202) 483-6622 x 309   E-Mail: communications@nmac.org

Contact: Circe J. Gray LeCompte
  Director of Communications
  National Minority AIDS Council
  Phone: (202) 483-6622 x 309
  E-Mail: communications@nmac.org

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