Press Room

September 20, 2004

Category: HIV & AIDS

HRC Lauds Newly Signed Clean Needle Law in California

'Governor Schwarzenegger is putting science first,' said HRC President Cheryl Jacques.

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign lauded Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signing yesterday of legislation that authorizes cities and counties in California to permit pharmacists to sell up to 10 clean syringes without a prescription.

"Governor Schwarzenegger is putting science first," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "Giving people access to clean needles will curb the number of new HIV and hepatitis infections. Members of Congress who have time and again rejected needle exchange programs should take this new measure to heart."

"The consequences of sharing contaminated needles and syringes have taken a significant toll on the public's health," wrote Schwarzenegger in a message released upon signing. "My administration supports this measure because it will prevent the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases among injection drug users, their sexual partners and their children."

The bill, S.B. 1159, was introduced by Sen. John Vasconcellos, D-Santa Clara. Similar legislation was vetoed by former Gov. Gray Davis under pressure by some law-enforcement groups who believed that the program would condone drug use.

"We urge cities and counties to quickly authorize these important provisions," added Jacques.

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that LGBT Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.