Obama Bans Funding for Needle Exchange
President Obama's budget released Thursday takes a step backward from a controversial political position he had taken during the presidential campaign. Obama, during the primary campaign, pledged his support of needle exchange programs to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS. When he took over the White House, the administration website affirmed: "The President also supports lifting the federal ban on needle exchange, which could dramatically reduce rates of infection among drug users." Yet Obama's budget includes language that bans spending federal money on needle-exchange programs.
White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said the administration isn't yet ready to lift the ban - but Obama still supports needle exchange."We have not removed the ban in our budget proposal because we want to work with Congress and the American public to build support for this change," he said. "We are committed to doing this as part of a National HIV/AIDS strategy and are confident that we can build support for these scientifically-based programs."