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CDC investigation required for HIV outbreak in West Virginia’s largest county

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Senator Joe Manchin has submitted a parliamentary investigation to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the outbreak of HIV in West Virginia’s largest county.

Charleston, West Virginia-US Senator Joe Manchin submitted a parliamentary investigation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the outbreak of HIV in the largest county in West Virginia on Monday.

West Virginia Democrats called for an investigation on behalf of the Kanauha County Commission two months after CDC officials warned that the county outbreak was “most concerned in the United States.”

In a letter to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Warrensky, Manchin asked the CDC to consider the Commission’s concerns and respond by Friday.

In early February, CDC Head of HIV Prevention, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, gave a presentation at a conference of the HIV Task Force in Kanauha County.

“The current number of cases may represent the tip of the iceberg,” says Daskalakis. “There may be more undiagnosed cases in the community. We are concerned that the infection is ongoing and that the number of people living with HIV will continue to grow unless urgent action is taken.”

The Commission’s letter to Manchin asked if the CDC had completed an official investigation into the county’s HIV surge. The letter said the Commission was concerned that the statement, which stated that it was of most concern in the country, was “made without factual and empirical evidence.”

In Kanauha County, which has 178,000 inhabitants, including Charleston, there were two cases of intravenous drug-related HIV in 2018. That number increased to 15 in 2019 and at least 35 last year, says state epidemiologist Shannon McBee.

By comparison, according to the CDC, 36 HIV cases associated with intravenous substance use were recorded in 2019 in the city of New York, which has a population of over 8 million. In other state counties with a similar population to Kanawa, people who inject drugs had an average of less than one HIV diagnosis, according to Dascalakis.

The surge gathered primarily around Charleston’s capital and Huntington city, at least in part, due to the 2018 cancellation of the needle exchange program, which provided clean syringes to syringe users who could not completely stop their habits. It is due.

The Needle and Needle Change Program is included in the CDC Recommendations for Controlling the Outbreak of Disease in Intravenous Drug Users. Such programs exist in dozens of states, but not without critics, including West Virginia, who say they haven’t done enough to prevent or stop substance abuse.

A draft ordinance limiting the local needle exchange program was in front of the Charleston City Council on Monday night. The state legislature is also considering a bill to regulate needle exchange providers.

The non-profit Solutions Oriented Addiction Response provides addicts with clean needles in Charleston, and the group shares information about HIV testing with residents, including the homeless. Sarah Stone, co-founder of SOAR, said a state bill could suspend her group’s needle exchange program.

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