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Indiana governor extends needle program to fight HIV

2015-04-20 0
   
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résuméLOUISVILLE, Ky. The governor of Indiana on Monday said he would extend an emergency health order, including a needle exchange, in response to an HIV outbreak caused by intravenous drug abuse which has reached 134 confirmed and preliminary cases. The
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Indiana governor extends needle program to fight HIV


LOUISVILLE, Ky. The governor of Indiana on Monday said he would extend an emergency health order, including a needle exchange, in response to an HIV outbreak caused by intravenous drug abuse which has reached 134 confirmed and preliminary cases.

The outbreak, centered in rural Scott County near the border with Kentucky, is up from 106 cases 10 days ago, health officials said. The outbreak is the biggest in the state's history - typically, Scott County has fewer than five new HIV cases in a year.

"While we’ve made progress in identifying and treating those affected by this heartbreaking epidemic, the public health emergency continues and so must our efforts to fight it," Governor Mike Pence said in a statement.

A needle exchange program started April 4 for Scott County residents has distributed 5,322 clean syringes to 86 people and collected 1,400 used syringes, health officials said.

Although Indiana bans needle exchanges, Pence has authorized the short-term program to address the outbreak by providing drug users with sterile needles. The emergency order, which was set to expire April 24, was extended by another 30 days.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), can cause AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. More than 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Eric Walsh)

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