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Health officials report a decline in HIV outbreaks in Southeastern Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (June 17, 2015) - Some of the resources across the state are being pulled out of Southeastern Indiana where one of the worst HIV epidemics in the country took place.

“The cases of HIV in this community will remain there with proper treatment for the next 40 to 50 years,” says Dr. Jerome Adams, State Health Commissioner.

Health officials believe the HIV outbreak is better contained and are transitioning to more localized care.

“They will be co-located for at least one day a week, most likely with the needle exchange program. The address and the physical location for that should be coming through in the next few days,” says Dr. Jennifer Walthall, Deputy State Health Commissioner.

The department reports the number of HIV cases in and around Scott County is now at 170, with 169 confirmed and one preliminary positive.  Although, officials report that the amount of new cases continues to drop each week.  One way the state health department plans to keep the decline in outbreaks going is by opening a community outreach center this spring in Austin, the small city that it at the center of the outbreak.

“We are not leaving Scott County. This is a transition to more local control and more local empowerment. But, the state will remain partners with Scott County and we will continue to be involved with and go down to Scott County,” says Dr. Adams.

Southern Indiana’s outbreak is tied to needle sharing among intravenous drug users.  The health department’s needle exchange program along with HIV education has helped decrease this issue.

“The highest risk contacts are the injection drug users. That is what we are focusing on initially and primarily,” says Dr. Adams.

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