A pilot needle exchange program in Camden, N.J., - one of four in the state - "was off to a slow start" when it began 18 months ago, but "now, 976 drug users have registered with the program - more people than those at the other pilot sites in Atlantic City, Newark or Paterson," the Cherry Hill Courier-Post reports. "In Camden, 854 people are living with HIV/AIDS, the eighth-highest number among New Jersey municipalities, according to the latest data from the state Department of Health and Senior Services. About a third of them were infected by dirty needles," the Courier-Post reports. Bob Baxter, who oversees Newark's program, said needle exchanges provide "the most immediate benefit at the cheapest cost," in reducing the spread of blood-borne diseases. "While there's no way to count the number of people who are no longer sharing needles because of the program, organizers say they hope to see their success correlate to lowered communicable disease rates," the article states (Hirsch, 7/20).
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