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Syringe exchange floated as possible way to fight STD increases in San Diego County

12/12/19

See the full article by Paul Sisson in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"County supervisors accepted nearly $2 million in additional state funding Tuesday to strengthen its fight against sexually transmitted diseases and hepatitis C, which have recently seen a relentless and eye-popping increase in prevalence.

"The board unanimously approved receiving the funds from the California Department of Public Health over the next five years, significant revenue to increase the turnaround time of infection investigations and conduct outreach to local medical professionals including obstetricians, gynecologists and birthing practices...

"While the board approved the funding on its consent calendar without discussion, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher took a moment at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting to briefly comment on the list of priorities laid out for the new state funding. Though he applauded the additional cash, which bolsters the roughly $1 million in funding the county had been getting from the state for STD prevention every five years, he questioned why county programs have not focused on supporting clean syringe exchange and condom-distribution programs when many studies show that such efforts are highly effective at slowing the spread of such pathogens.

"Fletcher called on his colleagues to explore these options in ways they haven’t in the past.

"'In the new year, I think we need to have a renewed commitment to adopting public health practices that we know work,' Fletcher said. 'I look forward to working with the public health department and our board as we consider these changes so we can tilt these scales in a different direction.'"