PA 16-87—sSB 218

Public Health Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH'S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REVISIONS TO THE STATUTES REGARDING HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS

SUMMARY: This act makes changes to statutes related to HIV. Specifically, the act requires the Department of Public Health (DPH) to establish needle and syringe exchange programs in any community impacted by HIV or hepatitis C, not just the three cities with the most HIV cases among injection drug users, and expands the programs' service components. But it requires the programs only within available appropriations.

The act also deletes certain obsolete statutory provisions and makes minor and technical changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

NEEDLE AND SYRINGE EXCHANGE PROGRAMS

The act requires DPH, within available appropriations, to establish needle and syringe exchange programs to improve the health of people who inject drugs in any community impacted by HIV or hepatitis C. DPH may authorize the programs through local health departments or other organizations. Prior law (1) required DPH to establish such programs in the three cities with the highest number of HIV cases among injection drug users and (2) allowed DPH to authorize similar programs in other parts of the state, through local departments or organizations.

The act requires the programs to be incorporated into existing HIV and hepatitis C prevention programs, not just existing HIV programs as under prior law. It eliminates the requirement that first-time program applicants receive an initial packet of 30 needles and syringes, instead requiring that they receive an unspecified number.

The act requires the programs to offer education on hepatitis C and drug overdose prevention measures, in addition to the HIV education already required. It also requires the programs to provide referrals for substance abuse counseling or treatment and medical or mental health care. They are already required to help participants obtain drug treatment services.

Existing law requires monitoring of certain program data. The act specifies that this monitoring is for evaluation purposes. It also:

1. adds the requirement that programs monitor for incidence of HIV infection from injection drug use and

2. eliminates the requirement that programs monitor the treatment status of program participants entering treatment.

REPEALER

The act repeals a law that required DPH to establish an HIV education, counseling, and prevention grant program for local health departments and other qualifying individuals and organizations (CGS 19a-121). Another law, unchanged by the act, continues to require DPH to provide funds to local health departments for similar purposes (CGS 19a-121a).

The act repeals a law that allowed DPH to develop (1) a comprehensive training program for providers required to provide HIV testing for pregnant women or newborns or related counseling and (2) educational material for such providers to distribute to pregnant women or mothers of newborns (CGS 19a-594). It retains and recodifies another section of this statute on HIV testing of newborns and required referrals for mothers when the newborn tests positive for HIV.

The act also repeals laws that:

1. required the administrative services commissioner to donate up to five vans to municipalities or organizations operating needle exchange programs (CGS 19a-124a) and

2. allowed DPH to establish a registry of data on infants who have been exposed to HIV or AIDS medication (CGS 19a-54a). (The registry was never established. )

OLR Tracking: JO; KS; VR; cmg