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The State

San Francisco should urgently consider providing sterile syringes to drug addicts to slow the spread of AIDS, representatives of four needle-exchange programs from throughout the country told a press conference. With 15% of the city’s addicts already infected with the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus, “time is running out,” warned Pat Christen, director of government affairs of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. A private group called Prevention Point has disclosed that it began an underground needle-exchange program last November and has given out more than 1,300 clean needles in three drug-infested neighborhoods. A spokesman for Mayor Art Agnos said the mayor is open to such a program if it is tightly controlled and run in cooperation with the health and police departments.


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