Re “Clinton’s Own Panel Attacks His Commitment to AIDS Fight,” March 18:
Many oppose needle-exchange programs because of worries that such programs might promote illegal drug use. This opposition is not well-grounded; studies have shown that needle exchange doesn’t have that effect, while it does help curb new HIV infections substantially.
Nevertheless, for purposes of argument, let’s pretend it does “send the wrong message” and encourage some people to experiment with drugs. In that case, here’s what the opponents are saying: that it’s OK to let people get HIV and suffer from AIDS, with all its stigma, misery and the huge expense it burdens us all with, in order to prevent people from trying drugs. In other words, according to these people, someone sampling a dose of heroin is worse than someone getting AIDS.