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Many U.S. Communities Vulnerable to HIV Outbreaks Due to Unsafe Opioid Injection

Research published recently in the online edition of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes has identified the jurisdictions in the U.S especially vulnerable to the rapid spread of HIV or hepatitis C virus (HCV) due to unsafe injection drug use. A total of 220 countries in 26 states had a high level of vulnerability, with factors associated with unsafe injecting including unemployment, and poverty, and high rates of death due to drug overdose.

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CROI 2016: Injection-Related Indiana HIV Epidemic Is Under Control, But Vigilance Needed

Extensive epidemiological investigation followed by prevention and treatment interventions have largely succeeded in controlling an outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in rural Indiana linked to injection of prescription opioids, but new cases continue to appear and many other communities may be at risk for similar outbreaks, according to presentations at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) last week in Boston.

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NHPC 2015: U.S. Syringe Funding Ban Impedes HIV and Hepatitis C Prevention

Providing sterile syringes is a proven effective method for preventing HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections among people who inject drugs, yet the U.S. government continues to prohibit use of federal funds for this purpose, presenters said at the 2015 National HIV Prevention Conference (NHPC) last week in Atlanta. A federal budget bill now under consideration could lift the funding ban on syringe exchange programs. 

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5. Indiana HIV Outbreak Linked to Opioid Injection

In January the Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began investigating an outbreak of HIV in rural Scott County, near the Kentucky border. The CDC issued an official health advisory in April, and CDC and Indiana investigators published a report in the May 1 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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IDWeek 2015: Emergency Needle Exchange Reduces HIV and HCV Risk in Indiana

An emergency syringe exchange program implemented after an outbreak of HIV earlier this year in Indiana led to a decrease in risk behaviors including needle sharing over its first 5 months, researchers reported at IDWeek 2015 last week in San Diego. These findings add to the evidence that needle exchange is an effective harm reduction intervention for people who inject drugs.

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