Painkiller abuse sparking HIV outbreak in southern Indiana

By Steve Bittenbender LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Reuters) – An outbreak of HIV among people injecting prescription drugs prompted health officials in southern Indiana to step up warnings on Wednesday against needle sharing and unprotected sex. Since mid-December, the Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed 26 cases of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and four other people have been preliminarily diagnosed with the virus. Department spokeswoman Amy Reel said the cases had popped up in Clark, Jackson, Scott and Washington counties, all north of Louisville, Kentucky, and Perry County, an hour west of Evansville. “Because prescription drug abuse is at the heart of this outbreak, we are not only working to identify, contact and test individuals who may have been exposed, but also to connect community members to resources for substance abuse treatment and recovery,” Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams said in a statement.
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