Street Works, a nonprofit focused on preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS and HEP C through supportive services for those infected and affected, is pleased to announce on Valentine’s Day that it is the first in the State of Tennessee to be designated and provide the Syringe Service Program.
Last year, State Senator Steve Dickerson (R), with support from Governor Bill Haslam, was able to successfully pass Senate Bill #806 which also overwhelmingly passed the Tennessee House.
“It’s a rare circumstance when I can look at you at say, ‘This bill is going to save people’s lives,’ ” said Sen. Dickerson, who is also an anesthesiologist. “But this bill will save people’s lives and save the taxpayers literally tens of millions of dollars a year.”
The bill authorized statewide needle exchange programs as long as organizations provide additional services to treat and counsel those who inject themselves with drugs. It has taken a year for the bill to be put into action.
“We are honored to be the first in the State to provide this life-saving program,” said Sharon W. Hurt, interim executive director of Street Works. “Street Works is an organization of action and prevention. This along with the other services we provide will support our goal to go out of business…one day. Eradicating the spread of HIV and AIDS, as well as HEP C only happens when measures like this, spearheaded by Sen. Dickerson allows organizations like ours to provide care to communities at the greatest risk.”
For the last 20 years, Street Works has provided supportive services to persons living with HIV disease in the middle Tennessee area. It is now part of the National Needle Exchange Program and is listed on the organization’s website as a provider https://nasen.org/directory/tn/.