Last month, the Indiana State Department of Health announced an outbreak of HIV in the southeastern part of the state, and the number of cases continues to rise.
The outbreak has been concentrated in Scott County. Dr. Kevin Burke of the Clark County Health Department, which handles HIV cases for the region, says his team has confirmed 51 cases as of Wednesday afternoon. Fifteen other people have been flagged through preliminary screenings.
“Our experience so far is that most of our preliminary positives turn out to be confirmed positive,” says Burke. “We still have a substantial population to test. They are focusing on the jail system, since there is an increased risk among that population.”
Burke said his team has identified about 75 others in need of testing.
Most of the cases are linked to IV drug abuse, with the infection spreading through the sharing of dirty needles.
The Indiana State Department of Health plans to implement an advertising campaign , which hopefully will stem the spread of the virus by emphasizing safe sex and syringe use. A spokesperson at the department said some of the ads will start showing up on social media as early as Thursday afternoon.