MONTCLAIR – Senator Nia H. Gill, D-Essex and Passaic, the sponsor of legislation establishing pilot syringe exchange programs in New Jersey, issued the following statement on the announcement today by the Department of Health and Senior Services that it has granted approval to the first participants in the pilot program:
“Today we have taken responsibility to help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in the State, by establishing the pilot programs for syringe exchange. The programs to be implemented in Newark, Paterson, Camden and Atlantic City will highlight the success of syringe exchange programs in combating the AIDS epidemic, and be an example for the rest of the State to follow. For those at risk of infection, this is a matter of life and death.
“New Jersey has the highest HIV infection rate among women, the third highest number of pediatric cases in the nation, and the fifth highest number of total infections. And more than half of New Jersey’s 70,000 people infected with the disease are intravenous drug users, or are partners with or children of intravenous drug users.”