TRENTON – Senator Nia H. Gill today applauded the legislative progress of her bill, S-494, to authorize needle exchange programs which will bring New Jersey closer to containing the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Senator Gill’s measure, which would authorize trial needle exchange programs in six municipalities, was approved today the Senate Budget & Appropriations Committee and now goes to the full Senate. It advanced with a $10 million appropriation that is to be used solely to expand drug treatment programs.
“It is scientifically undisputed that access to sterile syringes is an effective tool as part of a comprehensive plan to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS,” said Senator Gill, D-Essex and Passaic. “New Jersey has twice the rate of HIV infection resulting from shared needle use compared to the rest of the nation. New Jersey is the only state in the nation that does not permit access to clean needles in order to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. With today’s action, we are now one step closer to eliminating this dubious distinction and saving lives.”