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Congress Could Investigate D.C.'s HIV Programs

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D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton fired off a letter blasting Republicans for meddling in local issues.
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D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton fired off a letter blasting Republicans for meddling in local issues.

By Peter Granitz

A recent Washington Post investigation discovered millions of dollars misspent by HIV-AIDS care providers in the district. Now, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill hope to investigate.

D.C. delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton fired off a letter blasting Republicans for meddling in local issues saying, that no other Congressional district receives the scrutiny that her's does.

Norton blamed Republicans for the district's high infection rate because of their past opposition to needle exchange programs; the ban was only recently lifted.

Dr. Shannon Hader, who heads the D.C. HIV-AIDS Administration, says the district needs such programs to fight a multi-faceted epidemic.

"Not having the evidence-based, effective practice of needle exchange available to us for a decade absolutely contributed to our not seeing the decline HIV injection users that other urban areas were able to see," says Hader.

Now, an amendment to a federal bill that funds the district would regulate where needle exchange programs could exist. Advocates say it's too restrictive, but supporters of the amendment say it would protect children.

Local Republican party officials haven't decided whether to support or oppose the measure, but they have not opposed needle exchanges in the past.

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