HIV public health emergency in Indiana

IRAN AIDSThe governor of Indiana, Mike Pence, is expected to announce a public health emergency in Scott County, a county in the south of Indiana. In the last 26 months at least 72 cases of HIV have been detected in this area with the numbers expected to rise to at least 100. Compared to the yearly average of 5 cases, this amount is alarming. 

The high number of cases may be due to a large flare-up from intravenous drug use. In an attempt to reverse this steep increase, Mike Pence has temporarily suspended state law and his own anti-drug policies in order to carry out a needle-exchange program for a short period of time. This social service allows drug addicts to obtain clean hypodermic needles and other equipment mostly for free. These programs used to be illegal in Indiana.

HIV is contracted through blood, semen, pre-ejaculatory fluids, vaginal fluids, rectal fluids or breast milk from an infected person. Sex and drug use are the main causes of HIV infection. Make sure you use condoms correctly and consistently every time you have vaginal, oral or anal sex. If you have a piercing or tattoo ensure that the needles used have been correctly sterilised.

ART (antiretroviral therapy) is a combination of at least three antiretroviral drugs (ARV) used to control the HIV virus. The drugs cannot kill or cure the virus, but can significantly decrease the speed at which it spreads throughout the cells in your body. Although ART can reduce the risk of contracted HIV through transmission, it is still essential that you always use condoms during sex.