To our Florida friends and activists:
The Florida House Health & Human Services Committee will hear HB491, The MIami-Dade Infectious Disease Elimination Act (I.D.E.A.), Thursday, April 10th, at 8:00 a.m.
We urge you to call and email the members of the committee and ask them to support this bill. It is especially important that these members hear from people living in their districts. Please complete your contacts by 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9th.
HB491, introduced by Representative Mark Pafford, establishes a pilot program to offer free, clean, and unused needles and syringes in exchange for used ones as a means to prevent the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other blood-borne diseases among intravenous drug users. No state funds will be used for the pilot program.
Here are the messages these subcommittee members need to hear:
This bill will reduce rates of HIV and hepatitis C.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, as of 2011 Miami-Dade County has the highest rate of new HIV infections in the country. Miami-Dade County has over 10,000 injection drug users and more than one in five is HIV positive, the highest of any U.S. city. One-third has hepatitis C.
Syringe Exchange Programs do NOT encourage the initiation of drug use nor do they increase the frequency of drug use among current users. In one study, employment increased 44.8 percent within six months among clients of Syringe Exchange Programs.
The cost of a sterile syringe can be as little as 97 cents. The estimated lifetime cost of treating an HIV positive person is between $385,200 and $618,900. It is estimated that if 10% of new cases of HIV in injection drug users in Miami-Dade had been prevented, that would represent a savings $124 million in treatment costs to Florida.
I urge you to support HB491.
big bear hug,
Dab the AIDS Bear
Richard Corcoran, Ch 850-717-5037 R-Lutz
Larry Ahern, VCh 850-717-5066 R-Seminole
Jason Brodeur 850-717-5028 R-Sanford
Travis Cummings 850-717-5018 R-Orange Park
Gayle Harrell 850-717-5083 R-Port St. Lucie
Matt Hudson 850-717-5080 R-Naples
Jose Oliva 850-717-5110 R-Hialeah
Jimmy Patronis 850-717-5006 R-Panama City
Cary Pigman 850-717-5055 R-Sebring
Ronald Renuart 850-717-5017 R-Ponte Vedra Beach
Ken Roberson 850-717-5075 R-Port Charlotte
John Wood 850-717-5041 R-Winter Haven
Mia Jones 850-717-5014 D-Jacksonville
Gwyn Clarke-Reed 850-717-5092 D-Pompano Beach
Katie Edwards 850-717-5098 D-Sunrise
Joe Gibbons 850-717-5100 D-Pembroke Park
Shevrin Jones 850-717-5101 D-West Park
Amanda Murphy 850-717-5036 D-New Port Richey


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