Alarming Rise Of HIV Infections In Indiana

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Since January 2015, Indiana’s Scott County has confirmed 79 new HIV infections and last week Gov. Mike Pence declared the rise in infections a “public health emergency,” reports the local CBS 12 News affiliate.

Scott County, located about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky, only has an estimated 24,000 residents.

After a meeting with Scottsburg officials last Wednesday, Pence stated, “This is a public health emergency and I’m listening to my health department, I’m listening to the Centers for Disease Control and I’ll make my decision based on the best science and the best way we can stop this virus and stop this outbreak in its tracks.”

According to the CBS report, health officials believe most of the cases are due to illegal drug use and needle sharing. Gov. Pence opposes needle-exchange programs – which allow people to turn in used needles for clean ones – but in the interim has forgone the state’s current ban to create a temporary needle exchange program to help slow the rates of infection that are expected to rise.