Asia: Taiwan Considers Syringe Access to Reduce AIDS Spread 5/13/05

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Responding to figures showing that injection drug use is now the leading cause of new HIV infections in Taiwan, health officials on the island said Sunday they were considering providing drug users with sterile syringes. In remarks reported by Agence France-Presse, Tsai Shu-Fen, an official with Taiwan's Centers for Disease Control, said that under the proposed harm reduction program "police may no longer follow the drug users who buy needles and injection equipment from drug stores." That measure will begin on a trial basis after further discussion among relevant government agencies, he said.

Slightly more than one thousand Taiwanese have died from AIDS since the island's first case was registered in 1986. Six thousand Taiwanese are currently infected with the HIV virus. According to the center, last year 52% of new HIV cases were related to needle-sharing. In 2002, the island had fewer than 10 drug injection-related HIV cases; now it has more than 550.

"If this trend continues without the government's active prevention measures, the number of domestic drug users infected with [HIV] could be dozens of times higher than now," said Tsai. Providing access to syringes is a "pragmatic" approach to safeguarding the public health and has been proven in countries such as Australia, Britain, and Holland, he added.

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Issue #386 -- 5/13/05

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Editorial: Paying for Propaganda | Feature: Marijuana Remains Legal in Alaska | Feature: Major Russian Drug Reforms on Verge on Being Reversed | Feature: ONDCP Student Drug Testing Road Show Dogged by "Truth Squads" | Announcement: DRCNet/Perry Fund Event to Feature US Rep. Jim McDermott, June 1 in Seattle | Sentencing: House Passes Orwellian "Anti-Gang" Mandatory Minimums | Weekly: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Cocaine: Connecticut House Passes Bill to Eliminate Crack/Powder Disparities | Pain: Boston Congressman Wants Nationwide Ban on Oxycontin | Pain: ABC's Nightline Gives Sympathetic Look at Pain Treatment vs. Prohibition | Prisons: Sex Abuse of Federal Inmates by Guards "A Significant Problem," Justice Department Says | Initiatives: Denver Marijuana Initiative Submitted for Approval | Initiatives: Michigan Marijuana Initiative Effort Gets Underway | Middle East: Lawless Iraq Becoming Key Drug Corridor, INCB Says | Asia: Taiwan Considers Syringe Access to Reduce AIDS Spread | Caribbean: "Ganja Planter" Lament Tops the Charts in Trinidad & Tobago | Weekly: This Week in History | Job Listing: Outreach Coordinator, Coalition for Higher Education Act Reform (DRCNet) | Weekly: The Reformer's Calendar

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