IAS 2015: Indiana HIV Outbreak -- Lessons about Containing Local Outbreaks and Harm Reduction

An early 2015 outbreak of HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in rural Indiana linked to injection of prescription opiates offers a good example to how to track and contain a localized outbreak, according to a pair of presentations at a late-breaking prevention research session at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention last month in Vancouver. Attendees at the session stressed that we already know how to prevent such outbreaks, and called for implementation of needle exchange programs and other proven-effective harm reduction measures.

In January 2015 the Indiana State Department of Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began investigating an HIV outbreak after disease intervention specialists confirmed nearly a dozen new infections in a rural community in Scott County, near the Kentucky border -- a community of 4200 residents that had only reported 5 cases of HIV during the previous decade. Investigators traced the new infections to people who inject oxymorphone (brand name Opana), a prescription opioid or opiate-like painkiller.

The CDC issued an official health advisory about the outbreak in April, and CDC and Indiana investigators published a brief report in the May 1 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

John Brooks, leader of the CDC's HIV Epidemiology Team, described efforts to determine the source of the Indiana outbreak, trace patterns of transmission, halt further infections, and bring affected people into care. He also presented results from a molecular epidemiology analysis of HIV and HCV strains, providing insight into how the viruses spread.

To read more about the cause and response to the outbreak, you can go to the article here: hivandhepatitis.com/hiv-aid...

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