Taylor Shocked By Lack Of Medical Care For Syringe Users

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December 1, 2010 | 4:20am EST

Dame Elizabeth Taylor was stunned when she volunteered at a syringe exchange centre in New York – because it was the first time many of the drug users she met had received medical attention.
The Hollywood legend, who is the founding international chairman of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research,visited a medical facility in the Big Apple to help staff during a health drive.

She admits meeting with the drug abusers at the centre was inspiring, as it marked their first step to rehabilitation.

Recalling her experience in a piece for The Independent to mark World AIDS Day on Wednesday, Taylor writes, “Volunteering at a syringe exchange centre in New York City was an eye-opening and moving experience.

“For so many of these clients, being approached by staff from the syringe exchange programme was the first time in a very long time that anyone had expressed concern about their health and well-being.

“In my personal interactions with syringe exchange clients, I was privileged to witness first hand the true connection between syringe exchange as a method for preventing HIV infection among drug users and as an important first step in helping these vulnerable people to learn to love themselves again and begin that important journey to rehabilitation.”

Taylor’s longtime friend Sir Elton John guest edited the special edition of the newspaper and all circulation revenue from the publication will go towards the Rocket Man’s AIDS foundation.