CDC on the ground in West Virginia for 4 weeks

Investigating high number of HIV cases
The CDC is on the ground in West Virginia in connection with the number of HIV cases among...
The CDC is on the ground in West Virginia in connection with the number of HIV cases among people who inject drugs.
Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:58 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Staff from the Centers for Disease Control are on the ground in West Virginia to help uncover information surrounding the number of cases of HIV among people who inject drugs using needles in the states.

That is according to the CDC, responding to a request from WSAZ Tuesday night.

According to the correspondence, the CDC team arrived Tuesday to “to support West Virginia colleagues’ investigation as part of a four-week investigation.”

The CDC says that state and local health officials have the lead on the current investigation.

The move comes after the CDC spoke at a meeting in the city of Charleston regarding HARM reduction (or needle exchange programs) saying that the number of HIV cases in Kanawha County was among the highest in the country.

The CDC will be interviewing people who inject drugs, community service providers, looking at data and medical records “to identify potential opportunities for public health intervention.”

“CDC staff deployed to West Virginia (as well as those working remotely) are supporting the state, as well as county public health officials with efforts to identify the most effective ways to reach people who inject drugs and connect them to appropriate HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services.”

The communication goes on to say:

“The team on the ground will include CDC HIV, viral hepatitis, STD, and overdose prevention experts, supported remotely by additional CDC subject matter experts. At any given point in the investigation, we anticipate support will involve between 5-9 CDC staff in W.V. focused on the HIV outbreak.”

In April, U.S. Senators from West Virginia Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito requested the CDC send information regarding the number of HIV cases in the state.

The response from the CDC said that in 2019 there were 50 new cases of HIV diagnosed among people who use needles.

In 2020, there were 35 new cases.

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