SAN MATEO COUNTY: Health Emergency Declaration Allows Needle Exchange
San Mateo County supervisors joined Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties yesterday when they unanimously declared a health emergency to legalize needle exchange programs. The declaration takes advantage of a new state law -- effective Jan. 1, 2000 -- that lifts the legal ban on needle exchange programs in a time of local health emergency. County health officials estimate that 1,300 San Mateo residents are HIV-positive, while 10 times that number, or 13,000, are infected with hepatitis C. Health officials also estimate that one-in-five HIV infections in the county are transmitted via contaminated needles (Associated Press, 12/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.