HIV/AIDS prevention in the U.S. is a topic that isn’t discussed enough, nor is the information made readily available to the public. During his presidential campaign, Obama pledged to allot federal funds to a needle exchange program for drug users, in efforts to slight the spread of the HIV/ AIDS virus through intravenous drug use.
Shortly after he took office, however, President Obama wavered from his original campaign promise and was reluctant to make good on his commitment to lift the ban on the program that provides clean needles to drug users. The House of Representatives took matters into their own hands, and on July 25 voted to lift the 21-year-old ban.
The ban , which has stood firm since 1988, was won by 218-211 vote, but met resistance from Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana who said the HIV virus is contracted mainly form unprotected sexual activities, and needle exchange programs have yet to be proven successful, reports the Washington Times.
“Providing needles acts as a way for drug users to sustain and support their intravenous drug use and does not address the primary illness of the drug addiction,” he said.
In sharp contrast, West Virginia Democrat Rep. Alan B. Mollohan said, “Needle exchange is not about promoting drug use.” He added, “It is in fact about preventing disease.”
The piece is legislation will encompass several other public health awareness and education programs including $114 million worth of funding for a teenage-pregnancy prevention campaign.