Hep Mag, POZ – West Virginia will receive $2.4 million in federal funding to help the state prevent and treat HIV, The Associated Press reports. The money arrives as an HIV outbreak among injection drug users shone a national spotlight on the state’s opioid epidemic and sparked debates about syringe exchanges and the economic burdens that result from injection drug use, such as the cost of preventing and treating HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Read the full article.
The latest jump in HIV rates stems from cases in Kanawha County, which includes the state capital, Charleston. HIV cases linked to injection drug use increased from two in 2018 to at least 35 in 2020. This compares with 36 in New York City, which has over 8 million more residents than Kanawha County (population: 178,000).
As reported in February, Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH, a federal health official, characterized the HIV outbreak as the “most concerning in the United States among people who inject drugs.” He recently told BuzzFeed News, “It is possible the current case count represents the tip of the iceberg.”