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New Study Finds Syringe Access Programs Prevented Thousands of HIV Cases in Philadelphia and Baltimore, Saving Lives and Millions of Dollars

Vital Strategies Statement: Pennsylvania and All States Need Syringe Access Programs

Syringe access programs prevented thousands of new HIV cases in Philadelphia and Baltimore and saved both cities millions of dollars a year, according to a new study in Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (JAIDS).

The study found syringe access programs averted 10,592 new cases of HIV in Philadelphia and 1,891 new cases of HIV in Baltimore over a ten-year period. The study also estimated that preventing the new HIV cases saved Philadelphia an estimated $243 million annually.  In Baltimore, the savings amounted to $62 million annually.

Currently, the state of Pennsylvania does not allow syringe access programs. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have authorized syringe access programs under special municipal orders.

Statement from Daliah Heller, who leads Vital Strategies’ Overdose Prevention Program

“Syringe access services save lives and save money. These programs also reduce overdose deaths by reaching people at high risk for overdose with overdose prevention education, access to naloxone, and connections to medication treatment.  It is wonderful to see that thousands of people didn’t get HIV in Philadelphia alone due to syringe access services. But the vast majority of the state does not have syringe access and that means thousands of lives lost and millions of dollars wasted. This study makes crystal clear that Pennsylvania needs comprehensive, statewide syringe access services now. ”

About Vital Strategies:

Vital Strategies is a global health organization working to reduce overdose deaths in the United States. Vital Strategies, Johns Hopkins University, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention are part of $50M investment by Bloomberg Philanthropies to address the overdose epidemic throughout the United States. The initiative is providing 10 million dollars to reduce overdose deaths in Pennsylvania.

Media contacts: Tony Newman 646-335-5384; Christina Honeysett: 914-424-3356