By Chris Bernard
As a follow up to my previous post about New Jersey being the last state to provide syringe access, I decided to try to figure out exactly what states besides New Jersey are still preventing access to syringes for IDUs. Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, South Dakota and Kansas are really the only states left without any kind of legal access to syringes for IDUs. Out of these five states Texas is the only state that is over represented in the annual HIV infections, we represent approximately 7.7% of the U.S. population and approximately 10.3% of the annual HIV infections. Texas is in fact in the top ten for AIDS cases (fourth actually) as well and we are the only state in that top ten without legal syringe access.
The question we should all be asking ourselves is why? Why is a state that is over represented in every category of HIV/AIDS refusing to act on the recommendations given by the CDC, IOM, AMA, WHO, Surgeon General Satcher, almost every state level medical organization, and many others in a list too long to lay out, to help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS? SEPs are and is shown to be cost effective, they even save money for the state! It is time we demand that our state legislators represent the interest of all Texans and allow SEPs to operate where health care providers deem them necessary to keep our fellow Texans alive until they are able to overcome their addictions.