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Needle Exchange Underway In Scott County To Combat Spread Of HIV


The state has started its needle exchange program aimed at combating an outbreak of HIV in Southern Indiana. Officials say the program started Saturday morning and is open only to Scott County residents through a community outreach center in the town of Austin.

At first, participants will be given enough needles to last them a week. Those syringes are then supposed to be returned and exchanged for new, clean ones. Public health officials say rampant reuse of needles by IV drug addicts had led to the HIV infection rate increase.

Participants will also be given literature and information about substance abuse treatment and HIV prevention.

The needle exchange program was created through an emergency executive order signed by Gov. Mike Pence in an attempt to curb the state's largest-ever HIV outbreak.

The 30-day order temporarily suspended Indiana's ban on such programs, but only for Scott County.

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