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From the Western North Carolina AIDS Project, shared via their e-newsletter May 6:

WNCAP sent a team of volunteers to join 150 advocates from across the state for AIDS Advocacy Day in Raleigh on April 13. The WNCAP team met with legislators in the bustling atmosphere of the state capitol as the N.C. General Assembly released its draft of the state budget.

They delivered letters from clients, petitions and personal stories illustrating the need for early and uninterrupted access to HIV medications. In this version of the House budget, the AIDS Drug Assistance Program is maintained at its current level with no cuts. Unfortunately, this is not the final version of the budget so we must stay vigilant.

The WNCAP team also took the opportunity to educate our legislators on the importance of harm reduction and prevention. In North Carolina, it is currently illegal to possess a syringe without a prescription. Decriminalization of syringes would reduce the incidence of needle stick injuries to law enforcement and the rates of HIV and hepatitis infection. Decriminalization costs nothing yet can save lives and millions of health care dollars.

To learn more, please visit the new advocacy pages on our website at www.wncap.org/advocacy/.

Kathleen O'Nan

Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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