The Department of Health Services, in a report to be presented to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors next week, is recommending the implementation of a countywide needle exchange program to help stem the spread of the AIDS virus.
The report concludes that needle exchange is an appropriate public health measure that could help to prevent or control disease. It urges the board to adopt a carefully designed exchange program that would include a strong prevention message and community outreach.
Needle exchanges are illegal under state law, but several cities and counties allow private groups to distribute clean needles to drug users to help prevent the spread of the HIV infection.
Los Angeles officials have declared the AIDS epidemic a local public health emergency to facilitate needle exchange.