Annals of Health Law
ACHIEVING AN AIDS-FREE GENERATION
challenging, and it is not clear whether there is a lawmaker with the political
will and clout to advance the cause.180 IDUs typically do not have champions
in the houses of power. However, the goal of an AIDS-free generation is not
reachable without addressing the prevalence of HIV in the IDU community.
Affirmatively authorizing funding for the distribution of needles and
syringes for disease transmission prevention is the ideal solution for funding
problems facing SEPs. SEPs could operate under more stable funding
conditions if they are no longer funded through an appropriations bill. In turn,
this type of legislation sends a clear message to the states that the federal
government actively encourages SEPs. Perhaps then states will be
encouraged to change their drug paraphernalia statutes, recognize the realities
of a thirty-year epidemic, move past the failed War on Drugs, and authorize
Since the early 1980s, when scientists first discovered HIV,181 the virus
has spread throughout the American population, resulting in an epidemic that
has caused over 500,000 deaths.182 Public health professionals and
HIV/AIDS prevention advocates identify SEPs as an effective prevention
strategy.183 Providing IDUs with a clean needle for every injection
significantly reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to another person.184
However, because SEPs are incompatible with the “War on Drugs,” an
avoidable mode of transmission continues to spread the virus.
Efforts of law enforcement agencies—consistent with federal policy—
funds to establish or carry out a program of distributing sterile syringes.” Id.