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1540 Updates

Rhode Island's only needle exchange program has lost the funding it needs to purchase clean needles and other supplies.

AIDS Care Ocean State lost $65,000 when state lawmakers in July cut by nearly half the General Assembly's community service grant program.

The grant was to be used to purchase nearly 60,000 syringes distributed each year and to dispose of more than 40,000 used syringes. The grant accounted for 60 percent of the organization's $105,000 in state funding for the fiscal year 2017.

The program helped reduce HIV and AIDS cases associated with intravenous drug use from 40 percent in the mid-1990s to less than one percent today.

ACOS President and CEO Kenneth Mayer says he's written to state officials about restoring funding but hasn't received a response.




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