‘Riskiest city’ for HIV, Miami opens first needle exchange

Hansel Tookes, a doctor at the University of Miami, holds needles that will be given away to addicts at a new syringe exchange program, the first ever to open in a city where HIV rates are about double that of most major US citiesAround the corner, Florida's first-ever needle exchange program opens Thursday, decades later than in many parts of the United States, and experts hope not too late to curb the burgeoning health crisis. "We already have the perfect storm here in Miami," said Hansel Tookes, a 35-year-old doctor who began working several years ago to open a needle exchange in south Florida. Miami's rate of new HIV infections — 51.2 per 100,000 people — far exceeds any other metropolitan area in the United States, according to data released this week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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