Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07



Local activists lobby around syringe exchange
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

This article shared 3998 times since Wed Mar 28, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

According to HIV/AIDS advocates, the cost of a clean syringe is just 72 cents. Treating AIDS over a lifetime costs an average of $300,000.

It is simple math, said Melissa Janiszewski, policy education coordinator at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC).

Still, since December, local AIDS advocates have been up against a difficult hurdle: the reinstated federal ban on funding for syringe-exchange programs.

Janiszewski and other local advocates spent March 21 lobbying against the ban in coordination with the National Day of Action for Syringe Access.

"We really want to send the message that every life matters," said Janiszewski.

The goal, she said, is to educate legislators on the benefits of harm reduction in combating the spread of HIV.

Advocates met with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and representatives for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (Kirk is currently recovering from a stroke) March 21. Janiszewski also presented on the ban at the Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse later that night.

According to a March report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a study done in 2009 found that nine percent of injecting drug users tested positive for HIV. Forty-five percent of those who were positive did not know it. Of those who were HIV-negative or uncertain of their status before the test, 35 percent reported that they had shared syringes.

The report concludes that access to clean syringes, among other things, is a known and effective way of curbing the spread of HIV among injecting drug users.

"It really is the most cost-effective way to reduce transmission," Janiszewski said.

However, stigma around HIV is compounded by the stigma around substance use and abuse when it comes to needle-exchange programs. The syringe-exchange battle, which has been ongoing for decades, is hinged on the belief of some that providing clean needles encourages drug use, rather than discourages needle sharing.

AFC says that is a dangerous position, and one that ignores years of study that show needle exchange as an effective tool for reducing HIV and hepatitis transmission.

In addition to providing clean needles, syringe exchange programs link clients to services and care, providing them with treatment options and support. As a consequence, many needle exchange programs have both curbed HIV rates and substance abuse.

Service providers do not need additional federal money to run syringe exchange programs. They simply need federal funds already going to HIV service work to be unrestricted when it comes to syringe exchange.

"It's basically changing a line item in the way the law is written," said Janiszewski.

The ban has not yet meant dire straits for local AIDS advocates yet. AFC has used private funds to continue its syringe exchange program. But the situation is unsustainable, Janiszewski said.

The debate over syringe exchange programs is hardly new. The federal ban lasted more than two decades before it was overturned in 2009. In December, it was again reinstated in the 2012 budget appropriates bill.

AFC is encouraging people to call their lawmakers and ask them to lift the ban in anticipation of the 2013 budget. More information is available at

This article shared 3998 times since Wed Mar 28, 2012
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

HRC on end of Mpox Public Health Emergency: Today we enter a new phase in a continuing fight
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) — the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — marked the end of the Mpox Public ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 2023 Jessie Fuentes: 26th Ward candidate talks mental health, LGBTQ+ Chicagoans
This is part of a series of interviews Windy City Times is running on LGBTQ+ candidates in the 2023 municipal elections taking place Feb. 28. The 2023 race to represent Chicago's 26th Ward—which includes parts of ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Missing student, Utah bill, Atlanta Pride, crime items, Castro bar
A New York City law student has been missing for weeks—and his brother said his last known location was The Q, a gay bar in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, NBC News reported. Jordan Taylor, 29, a ...

Gay News

Quigley commends progress in FDA LGBTQI+ blood donation draft guidance
--From a press release - Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Vice-Chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, released the following statement commending long-awaited updates to the FDA's blood donation guidance for LGBTQI+ ...

Gay News

FDA to relax rules of blood donations for gay, bisexual men
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reportedly slated to lift restrictions on blood donations from sexually active gay and bisexual men. However, there's at least one stipulation, The Advocate reported: A gay or bisexual ...

Gay News

TPAN announces merger with Vivent Health
Local HIV/AIDS organization TPAN announced Jan. 19 that it would be merging with Milwaukee-based Vivent Health. The merger is expected to be finalized by March 1, according to both organizations. Vivent Health, so named in 2019, ...

Gay News

One in five older LGBT adults experienced poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic
--From a press release - A new report from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law found that during the COVID-19 pandemic LGBT adults aged 50 and older were more likely to have household incomes below the federal poverty level ...

Gay News

Controversial conversion therapy doc has its Chicago premiere
Chronicle Cinema presented the celebrated and controversial documentary film Conversion in its Chicago premiere on Jan. 12. The nearly sold-out premiere, which took place at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, also featured a red-carpet experience and ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Asylum-seekers, equality updates, cannabis, HIV and COVID
Advocacy groups that specifically work with LGBTQI+ asylum-seekers and migrants criticized the Biden administration's expansion of the use of "expedited removal" of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Haitians and Venezuelans who enter the ...

Gay News

Pritzker signs bill protecting healthcare providers
Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill explicitly offering protections to Illinois healthcare providers working on reproductive and/or gender-affirming care issues for their patients on Jan. 13. The bill, HB4664, also protects out-of-state clinicians who come to ...

Gay News

Illinois General Assembly passes legislation to protect reproductive and gender-affirming healthcare, leaders respond
--From a news release - From Equality Illinois Statement from Equality Illinois Deputy Director Mony Ruiz-Velasco on passage by the Illinois General Assembly of essential legislation to protect patients, providers, and families seeking and providing ...

Gay News

WORLD Murder suspect arrested, Israeli official, conversion therapy, couple's win
Kenyan authorities arrested a suspect in the death of fashion designer/LGBTQ+-rights activist Edwin Chiloba after his body was found dumped in a metal box by the roadside near the town of Eldoret, according to CNN. Last ...

Gay News

Howard Brown, union officials dispute allegations around sidewalk incident
As striking Howard Brown Health Workers United (HBH Workers United) members represented by the Illinois Nurses Association (INA) and their allies were picketing outside of the Andersonville Brown Elephant location at 5404 N. Clark St. on ...

Gay News

Howard Brown strike reaches third day
Amid layoffs of 60 unionized and four non-union staffers at multiple Howard Brown Health (Howard Brown), Broadway Youth Center and Brown Elephant locations across Chicago, over 400 HBH Workers United non-nurse members represented by the Illinois ...

Gay News

AFC's World of Chocolate on Feb. 17
After a nearly three-year hiatus, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) will host the return of its famed World of Chocolate fundraiser on Friday, Feb. 17, at Union Station, 225 S. Canal St. This event features a menu ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.