Paterson offers dirty syringe exchange to fight AIDS

A controversial new program has been launched in Paterson to cut the spread of HIV and AIDS.

The Well of Hope Drop-In will collect used needles from drug users in exchange for new ones.

"They can inject safely, not share those needles," says Larry Ganges of New Jersey Health Department's HIV and AIDS Services.

Critics say the program endorses drug use, but Ganges defends the program. "This is a harm-reduction process," he says. "Any positive change, we think is a good thing."

In addition to the clean syringes, participants will be given a card to use if they are picked up by a police. The card will identify the person as a participant in the needle exchange program and prevent an arrest if no drugs are found.

Atlantic City, Newark and Camden are also involved in the program. Jersey City and Trenton have been authorized to participate and are mulling it over.

For an interview on the Paterson needle exchange program, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select iO Extra.

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