SCOTT COUNTY (April 17, 2015) – Health officials say there are now 130 HIV cases after an outbreak in southeastern Indiana.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health, 120 cases are confirmed while 10 are preliminary positive cases. The number marks a 24-case increase from the previous week.
“We have seen a significant increase in the number of HIV cases reported this week, but we believe that is because we have been able to offer more testing with the help of additional staff from CDC,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “This sharp increase in the number of HIV-positive cases demonstrates just how critical it is that we are able to locate and test people who have been exposed so that they can avoid spreading it to others and get medical treatment.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent support staff last month to help with the investigation at the request of the Indiana State Department of Health. CDC staff is conducting testing and helping local health departments contact those who may have been exposed to HIV.
The outbreak was brought on by drug users sharing needles.
A “One-Stop Shop” has been set up in Austin to help with testing and facilitate Scott County’s needle exchange, which was created by an executive order issued by Gov. Mike Pence last month. Since the exchange began, more than 5,300 clean needles have been provided to 86 participants. About 1,400 used syringes have been returned. The Scott County Health Department also started a mobile needle exchange earlier this week.
The Community Outreach Center is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Grace Covenant Church is providing free shuttle service to and from Austin by calling (317) 617-2223.
The One-Stop Shop at the Austin Community Outreach Center provides free HIV testing, vaccinations against tetanus, hepatitis A and B, and information about HIV and hepatitis prevention, treatment and resources. Substance abuse referrals are available and individuals can also get assistance in enrolling in Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP 2.0) insurance. The One-Stop Shop Info Line is (317) 605-1480.