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A Focus on AIDS, Past and Present

New York Times

Letter to Editor

A Focus on AIDS, Past and Present

August 3, 2012

To the Editor:

Danielle Ofri vividly describes the suffering caused by AIDS, but in outlining the scientific advances achieved she does not mention important advances in addiction treatment and recovery.

Twenty years ago, thousands of injecting drug users and their family members and sex partners were becoming infected and dying from AIDS, making it urgent to find a way to engage this difficult-to-reach population. The situation demanded innovation. A “harm reduction approach” was developed, enabling us to meet addicts wherever they were with clean needles and health and wellness programs. The new initiatives have proved to significantly reduce new H.I.V. infections and some of the demand this troubled population puts on our health care system.

New scientific advances may signal the beginning of the end of the AIDS epidemic as harm reduction programs have become a conduit to drug treatment and recovery for many.


New York, July 30, 2012

The writer is president of Exponents, which promotes improved quality of life for people affected by drug addiction, incarceration and H.I.V./AIDS.

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