The , a national grantmaking collaborative focused on reducing the use of shared syringes and ensuring their safe disposal, has announced grants totaling nearly $2.4 million to sixty-two organizations working to prevent HIV and viral hepatitis by providing injection drug users with access to sterile injection equipment and related health messaging.
The grants will support syringe service programs and advocacy efforts in thirty-two states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands — many of them serving the same communities affected by increased injection drug use stemming from the national opioid epidemic. For nearly fifteen years, the Syringe Access Fund has been supporting programs that promote the health, safety, and well-being of people who inject drugs, with the goal of reducing HIV and other bloodborne infections.
Administered by AIDS United, the fund is supported by the , the , and the . In 2017, EJAF awarded $2 million to the fund in support of efforts to mitigate the spread of HIV/AIDS through intravenous drug use.
"Injection drug use has always been a primary mode of transmission for both HIV and viral hepatitis, and the sharing of needles continues to result in thousands of new HIV transmissions each year," said EJAF founder Elton John. "In light of recent HIV outbreaks linked to injection drug use, which threaten to curb the progress we've made toward ending HIV, this is a critical time to continue resourcing programs that provide clean needles and other equipment to injection drug users, because these programs are proven to help prevent the spread of the disease."