Health

Kreg Steppe / https://www.flickr.com/photos/spyndle/535493117

The number of new HIV infections in southeastern Indiana now sits at 153.

While the number of cases continues to rise, incidence of infection has slowed down, and officials hope to see it plateau soon.

A local community outreach center in Scott County has become a one-stop shop for testing, HIV treatment coordination and, insurance enrollment. Since the outbreak has been linked to injection drug use, referrals for addiction treatment are also available.

Barbara Harrington / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The streets of Austin are lined with campaign signs focusing on the future of this struggling small town.

They’re on every corner, in every yard, even greeting drivers on the outskirts of town.

But, it’s the handwritten sign posted on Tammy Breeding’s lawn that sends perhaps the most powerful message of all.

"I had to make a statement. I want to take back my community, my neighborhood," she says.

The sign reads: "No loitering, prostituting in front of or around these premises. Violators will be prosecuted."

hitthatswitch / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ringai/

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is urging the legislature to pass a bill that would allow permanent needle exchanges in some Indiana counties.

Zoeller heads the state’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, and he cited concerns over the ongoing HIV crisis in Scott County. So far, more than 130 people have tested positive for HIV since just December. A majority of the cases have been linked to injection drug use.

Sara Westermark / https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarawestermark/4415600385/

After eight years of declining revenue, the Clinton County Health Department may have to raise service fees to make up for its losses.

The Clinton County Council recently increased the department’s loan cap to $65,000 -- $15,000 more than what it was allowed to borrow at the beginning of this year.

Health Department Administrator John Brannan says the department is asking for more grants from the state before taking money from the community.

hitthatswitch / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ringai/

The state has started its needle exchange program aimed at combating an outbreak of HIV in Southern Indiana. Officials say the program started Saturday morning and is open only to Scott County residents through a community outreach center in the town of Austin.

At first, participants will be given enough needles to last them a week. Those syringes are then supposed to be returned and exchanged for new, clean ones. Public health officials say rampant reuse of needles by IV drug addicts had led to the HIV infection rate increase.

Report: 1-in-60 Hoosiers Has Alzheimer's

Apr 3, 2015
Alzheimer's Association

A new report shows approximately 1 of every 60 Hoosiers suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

Statistics from the 2015 Alzheimer‘s Disease Facts and Figures report 110,000 Hoosiers currently have the disease and an estimated 2,100 Hoosiers die from it every year.

Also, while the national rates for HIV, breast cancer, heart disease and stroke have gone down since 2000, the rate of Alzheimer’s disease is up more than 70-percent.

Indiana's HIV Outbreak Continues To Grow

Mar 20, 2015
NIAID / https://www.flickr.com/photos/niaid/

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.

Kreg Steppe / https://www.flickr.com/photos/spyndle/535493117

Senate lawmakers unanimously approved legislation Tuesday that its sponsor says will give “hope to the hopeless.” 

The Right to Try bill would allow terminally-ill patients to receive experimental drugs as long as they meet three standards.

Sen. Ed Charbonneau (R-Valparaiso), the bill’s sponsor says, first, the medications must have passed through the first of three phases in the FDA’s approval process.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Senate lawmakers say they want to more time to work on a bill allowing terminally ill patients to try experimental drugs before sending the measure to the floor. 

The bill would help 5-year-old Jordan McLinn, who suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.  Those afflicted with the fatal disease typically only live to about age 20. 

But Jordan’s mother, Laura McLinn, told a Senate panel that help could be on the way.  As Jordan sat in her lap, she told lawmakers about a new drug being developed to change Jordan’s type of Muscular Dystrophy into a milder version.

Kreg Steppe / https://www.flickr.com/photos/spyndle/535493117

Governor Mike Pence says he lobbied against legislation encouraging more young people to get vaccinated against human papilloma virus, or HPV, because of concerns about government mandates. 

The proposed House bill, authored by Rep. Sue Erringto (D-Muncie), set a goal for the state to have 80 percent of 13-to-15 year olds vaccinated against HPV by 2020. 

HPV is a virus linked to several forms of cancer, including cervical cancer, and only around 20-percent of Hoosiers are currently vaccinated against it. 

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