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Illinois lawmakers vote to end prescription requirement for needles SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - In an attempt to fight the spread of AIDS, Illinois lawmakers passed legislation that would make it easier for drug users to obtain clean needles.

The Illinois House voted 70-48 Tuesday to lift a requirement that people have a prescription to buy needles and syringes. Gov. Rod Blagojevich expects to sign the legislation, spokeswoman Cheryle Jackson said.

The change would allow adults to buy up to 20 needles at pharmacies, which would provide them with information about proper handling of the needles.

"It's about saving lives," said Rep. Larry McKeon, a Chicago Democrat who is HIV positive. "The research is very clear. It significantly decreases the transmission of blood-borne pathogens."

Critics argued it would send a message that using drugs is acceptable and would make it easier for addicts to take drugs.

The measure's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Sara Feigenholtz of Chicago said Illinois is one of only five states that require prescriptions to buy needles. The others are Massachusetts, California, Delaware and New Jersey.

Report: A quarter of Americans get virtually no exercise ATLANTA (AP) - A quarter of all American adults are couch potatoes, getting virtually no exercise either at work or on the weekends, a government study found.

Three-fourths of all Americans, though, engage in least moderate activity three times a week or more, according to the report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of that number, roughly 20 percent are considered very physically active, exercising moderately five times a week for 30 minutes or vigorously three times a week for 20 minutes.

The study, based on 32,000 interviews conducted in 2000, gauged both work and leisure activities.

"One of the most interesting things we found was people who were active in their usual daily activity also were active in leisure activity," said statistician Pat Barnes. "An example is someone who does landscaping is more likely to do some leisure activity than someone who sat at a desk all day long."

The government recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week to fight obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. It wants 30 percent of adults to exercise 30 minutes five or more days a week by 2010.

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