Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-02-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Local activists lobby around syringe exchange
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

According to HIV/AIDS advocates, the cost of a clean syringe is just 72 cents. Treating AIDS over a lifetime costs an average of $300,000.

It is simple math, said Melissa Janiszewski, policy education coordinator at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC).

Still, since December, local AIDS advocates have been up against a difficult hurdle: the reinstated federal ban on funding for syringe-exchange programs.

Janiszewski and other local advocates spent March 21 lobbying against the ban in coordination with the National Day of Action for Syringe Access.

"We really want to send the message that every life matters," said Janiszewski.

The goal, she said, is to educate legislators on the benefits of harm reduction in combating the spread of HIV.

Advocates met with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and representatives for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (Kirk is currently recovering from a stroke) March 21. Janiszewski also presented on the ban at the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse later that night.

According to a March report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study done in 2009 found that nine percent of injecting drug users tested positive for HIV. Forty-five percent of those who were positive did not know it. Of those who were HIV-negative or uncertain of their status before the test, 35 percent reported that they had shared syringes.

The report concludes that access to clean syringes, among other things, is a known and effective way of curbing the spread of HIV among injecting drug users.

"It really is the most cost-effective way to reduce transmission," Janiszewski said.

However, stigma around HIV is compounded by the stigma around substance use and abuse when it comes to needle-exchange programs. The syringe-exchange battle, which has been ongoing for decades, is hinged on the belief of some that providing clean needles encourages drug use, rather than discourages needle sharing.

AFC says that is a dangerous position, and one that ignores years of study that show needle exchange as an effective tool for reducing HIV and hepatitis transmission.

In addition to providing clean needles, syringe exchange programs link clients to services and care, providing them with treatment options and support. As a consequence, many needle exchange programs have both curbed HIV rates and substance abuse.

Service providers do not need additional federal money to run syringe exchange programs. They simply need federal funds already going to HIV service work to be unrestricted when it comes to syringe exchange.

"It's basically changing a line item in the way the law is written," said Janiszewski.

The ban has not yet meant dire straits for local AIDS advocates yet. AFC has used private funds to continue its syringe exchange program. But the situation is unsustainable, Janiszewski said.

The debate over syringe exchange programs is hardly new. The federal ban lasted more than two decades before it was overturned in 2009. In December, it was again reinstated in the 2012 budget appropriates bill.

AFC is encouraging people to call their lawmakers and ask them to lift the ban in anticipation of the 2013 budget. More information is available at

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Census official talks LGBTQs' relevance 2020-02-19 - According to Timothy P. Olson, associate director for field operations for the U.S. Census Bureau, it is imperative that members of the LGBT ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health unveils expansion plans for North and South sides 2020-02-14 - Howard Brown Health announced a multi-year expansion plan that it says will better serve its current and future patients. Howard Brown's new projects ...

Gay News

Decades after San Francisco closed gay bathhouses, new law makes way for return 2020-02-12 - SAN FRANCISCO — District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman introduced legislation Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors requiring the San Francisco Department ...

Gay News

'Love Out Loud' ball Feb. 8 2020-02-05 - In Demand Entertainment and CSU Royal Court are presenting the Love Out Loud Ball on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2-10 p.m., at Chicago State ...

Gay News

Conference on AIDS changes name to Conference on HIV 2020-02-04 - Feb. 3, 2020 - NMAC announced today that the name of the United States Conference on AIDS will be changed to the United ...

Gay News

Public Health Institute names award after justice warrior Mary F. Morten 2020-02-01 - Chicago, IL - In a surprise move during the January 26, 2020 reception to celebrate the union between Illinois Safe Schools Alliance ( ...

Gay News

Illinois's LGBTQ Laws Rated in Human Rights Campaign's Annual State Equality Index 2020-01-30 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation and the Equality Federation Institute released their 5th annual State Equality Index ...

Gay News

Season of Concern has new board president 2020-01-29 - Season of Concern—the Chicagoland theater community's fundraising effort that provides compassionate care to those in the theater community who are experiencing the effects ...

Gay News

AMA Foundation Launches New Initiative to Address LGBTQ Health Disparities 2020-01-28 - CHICAGO —The American Medical Association Foundation ( AMAF ) today announced that John D. Evans, telecommunications pioneer, internationally-recognized business executive and philanthropist, will ...

Gay News

Study says 6% of sexual minority adults in the US identify as queer 2020-01-22 - The first study to examine queer identity in a U.S. nationally representative sample An estimated 6% of sexual minority adults in the U.S. ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.