Needle exchange is necessary

Every day people are dying from infection of HIV due to sharing contaminated needles with others. Every single day people find an easy place to shoot up quickly in fear of being caught causing them to leave any evidence of their presence behind. This is causing our streets to be filled with loads of needles and sad, lost souls. This is happening right in our home of Parkersburg, W.Va., whether it’s in the City Park restrooms or even The Point walking trail.

In “HIV is Coming to Rural America,” published in The New York Times on December 1, 2019, Steven Thrasher, professor at Northwestern, writes about decreasing HIV rates in larger cities and an increase in rural areas. Larger cities are able to better maintain privacy when getting help and treatment while rural areas are more scared to seek help due to not wanting to be seen. A clean needle exchange would succeed in our town if we crushed that stigma and had positive reinforcement supporting it. Lack of support and negative press are some of the main reasons these programs don’t work in smaller cities.

Now you may be wondering, how much will all of this cost? The average cost of treatment for one case of HIV is around $120,000 a year while a clean needle exchange costs about $160,000 for everything. You can see that this preventative measure greatly reduces the cost of AIDs treatment and in the long run is much more effective. They are not giving into the drug problems or addictions. They are providing health care as well as therapy, rehabilitation, and help to get you back on your feet.

Parkersburg needs a clean needle exchange. These programs provide clean drug paraphernalia such as needles or syringes in exchange for the old, dirty ones. This will keep our community cleaner and our residents safer as well as reducing the outbreak of HIV prevalence. They are giving people a place of safety, help, and purpose. Take a chance, support, and advocate for the change that we need in our town.

Zoe Pingley



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