Health Officials Concerned About Rising HIV Cases For 2018

Health Officials Concerned About Rising HIV Cases For 2018

Public health officials on a local and statewide level are concerned about the rising number of HIV diagnosis among people who are injection drug users.

In the first six months, public health officials have investigated 11 new HIV infection cases. In 2017, they investigated 15 cases for the entire year where half of them reported injecting drugs as the reason for the infection.

Helen McCaffrey is a DPHHS HIV epidemiologist, and she said the rise in IV drug use and HIV means people are putting themselves and partners at risk for HIV infection.

The chances of HIV and other blood-borne illnesses is high if someone shares injection equipment or needles, as they are a direct route for transmission.

While HIV is a big concern, injection drug use can lead to other illnesses and complications such as hepatitis B and C, which can then cause severe liver disease.

Abusing substances can also lead to a rise in other STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Drug users tend to engage in risky sexual behavior – such as multiple partners, unprotected sex, etc. This increases their chances of developing other STDs like gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, etc.

Public health officials have urged people to lower their chance of HIV and other blood-borne infections by doing the following:

Doctors and other healthcare providers are urged to review and test patients for possible HIV infections. According to the CDC, people between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV as part of their routine healthcare. People who fall under any of the risk factors need to be tested more often – yearly is ideal.

People who want a free HIV test or get rid of their needless can check out the website to find an anonymous testing site or any syringe exchange location.

Written by Mark Riegel, MD

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