INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): The number of HIV cases in southern Indiana is growing. As of Friday afternoon, state health officials reported a total of 81 HIV positive tests, which includes 74 confirmed and seven preliminary cases related to the outbreak in southeastern Indiana. All positive cases have been linked to injection drug abuse, with some individuals also reporting sexual intercourse as a possible mode of transmission.
Governor Mike Pence has declared a public health emergency in Scott County due to the outbreak reaching epidemic proportions.
“Scott County is facing an epidemic of HIV, but this is not a Scott County problem; this is an Indiana problem,” said Governor Pence. “I am confident that together, we will stop this HIV outbreak in its tracks.”
The Executive Order authorizes Scott County local officials to take the actions they deem necessary, including a targeted, short-term needle exchange program for the sole purpose of containing the epidemic. The state will also coordinate a multi-agency response and provide additional resources and tools to tackle the outbreak.
“The order issued yesterday gives local officials the authorization and tools needed to help stop this tragic epidemic,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “Stopping this outbreak will take the full collaboration and partnership of federal, state and local resources. I am encouraged by the compassion and collaboration by those at both the state and local level to stem the tide of the outbreak.”
The Indiana State Department of Health is working closely with local health officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug treatment facilities, academic and local medical providers, other State agencies and other partners to contain the outbreak and get HIV positive individuals treatment.