CDC awards funding to strengthen the nation’s syringe services programs

September 30, 2022

Dear Colleague:

During September 2022, CDC issued two awards totaling $7.7 million in the first project year to RTI International and NASTAD (National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors) through the “Strengthening Syringe Services Programs” cooperative agreement (CDC-RFA-PS22-2208). This five-year program will increase access to harm reduction services for people who use drugs (PWUD) and prevent hepatitis C, hepatitis B, HIV, and other infectious diseases associated with injection drug use. RTI International will use its funds to support and expand a national network of syringe services programs (SSPs) and oversee an annual survey to assess the nation’s SSP capacity and service delivery. NASTAD will use its funds to expand the reach of SSPs working across the United States to prevent infectious consequences of injection drug use and overdose through harm reduction services.

Tailored programs like SSPs foster trusting relationships and sustained use of their services by PWUD, thereby reducing the risk of overdose and infectious disease acquisition and transmission. SSPs provide access to sterile needles and syringes, safe disposal of injection equipment, overdose prevention, vaccination, HIV, STI, hepatitis testing and treatment, linkage to care for substance use disorder treatment and other services. Increased access to comprehensive harm reduction services through SSPs will support the health and wellness of PWUD and their communities.

We are pleased that this new funding will expand and strengthen SSPs as a vital public health strategy within the HHS Overdose Prevention Strategy to reduce overdose and infections among PWUD including the estimated 3.7 million people in the United States who inject drugs. Additionally, people who use and inject drugs are a priority population of the Viral Hepatitis National Strategic Plan which highlights “prevention and treatment efforts can be more efficient and effective by identifying and focusing efforts on those populations that bear a disproportionately higher burden of infection and disease.” This funding aligns with the plan’s strategies to improve the health of PWUD, reduce health disparities and put the nation on the path toward elimination of viral hepatitis.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best regards,

/Carolyn Wester/

Carolyn Wester, MD, MPH
Director
Division of Viral Hepatitis
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/

 

/Jonathan Mermin/

Jonathan Mermin, MD, MPH (RADM, USPHS)
Director
National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
https://www.cdc.gov/nchhstp/default.htm
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