Health official who urged abstinence says views have changed

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NEW YORK (AP) - The head of the nation's top public health agency once opposed condoms and needle exchange programs as ways to stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

This week, in one of his first media interviews since taking office, Dr. Robert Redfield Jr. said his views have changed.

Redfield became director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as a top researcher into the emerging AIDS epidemic. But at the time he was criticized for being out of step with the public health community on some issues.

Redfield told The Associated Press it has become clear to him that condoms and needle exchanges work as part of comprehensive programs to stop the spread of certain infectious diseases.

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