Ding Dong the Ban is Dead

That is the tune being sung through harm reduction networks. I write to share very exciting news.Yesterday Congress ended the 22-year-old ban on federal funding of syringe exchange. Following on the heels of a House vote last week, the Senate yesterday ended the ban by a 57-35 vote. PHR has been at the core of this battle for 3 years, making sure Congress, the administration and the public understand that the ban’s impact extends beyond our national borders.The ban has been applied to foreign assistance and has prohibited US global AIDS funding from addressing this important intervention in resource-poor countries facing rapidly-expanding injection-driven HIV epidemics. The original House language passed last summer included an onerous restriction on where needle exchange programs could operate. I’m thrilled to report that the language passed by both the House and Senate has removed that troubling restriction. With passage of this legislation, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator is prepared to revise previous global AIDS funding guidelines to allow funding for needle exchange services. This is a huge victory for HIV and viral hepatitis prevention and a sign of hope for human rights.We did it! Now it’s up to the President to sign it into law and finally make good on his campaign pledge.

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