HIV Cases increased to 142 in Rural Part of Southeastern Indiana

HIV Cases increased to 142 in Rural Part of Southeastern Indiana

A rural part of southeastern Indiana has seen a rise in its total for the number of confirmed and presumed HIV cases stemming from abuse of intravenous prescription drugs to 142. A state health official said on Friday that more cases are being identified every day.

Confirmed and preliminary positive cases accounted for 106 two weeks ago, but the numbers have now increased to 142.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also said that chances are high for injectable drug users with HIV to develop hepatitis C. The CDC’s Dr. Jonathan Mermin said on Friday that it has become very important for states to meticulously look into data on HIV, hepatitis C and drug abuse to understand what all areas are facing the risk of an infectious disease outbreak.

Scott County near the Kentucky border is the epicenter of the HIV outbreak. At least five cases have been included in the outbreak from neighboring Jackson County. “We likely haven't reached the peak of this outbreak, but we hope to soon through the continued comprehensive response made possible by the joint efforts of so many people and organizations”, said state Health Commissioner Jerome Adams in a statement.

Drug users are provided with sterile needles to prevent them from infections under needle exchange programs. Indiana opposes needle exchange programs, but one was launched in Scott County in early April by Indiana Governor Mike Pence, a Republican who opposes such programs to stem the outbreak.

Figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that over 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the US.

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