A I D S • N e w s • A l e r t s

Consumer hotline starts for HIV/AIDS patients

The Texas AIDS Health Fraud Information Network (TAHFIN) has opened a toll-free hotline that educates consumers on HIV/AIDS treatment fraud issues.

The hotline, which is available by calling (800) 758-5152, will focus on presenting information about potentially dangerous or fraudulent therapies.

TAHFIN is a task force sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and composed of the Texas Department of Health, community-based organizations, the Federal Trade Commis sion, treatment advocates, health care providers, and other groups that include people who have HIV/AIDS.

TAHFIN also can be reached on the World Wide Web at www.tahfin.org.

California passes needle-exchange bill, causing stir

The California Assembly passed a needle-exchange bill in May, permitting drug users to exchange used hypodermic needles for clean ones.

The measure still must be passed by the California Senate.

About a third of new AIDS cases in California are among injection drug users. While 17 clean-needle programs already operate in the state, California previously banned such exchanges because of a state law requiring a doctor’s prescription to obtain or distribute needles and syringes.

The San Francisco AIDS Foundation praised the measure, which resulted in criticism from opponents who claim the law implies government sanctioning of drug use, according to the Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report of May 13, 1999.

While awaiting the bill’s final approval, San Francisco and 17 California counties launched needle-exchange programs under "emergency orders" issued by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and the counties, the San Francisco Examiner Online reported on May 14, 1999.