Gov. Mike Pence is to visit Scott County and meet with local officials about an HIV outbreak that Pence’s office says “has reached epidemic proportions.”
Pence is scheduled to travel with state health commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams and state epidemiologist Pam Pontones to Scottsburg for this afternoon’s meeting.
The governor will issue a public health disaster emergency Thursday for Scott County, but the scope of that order will be determined by what he hears from local officials today.
State health officials said Friday that 55 HIV cases have been confirmed in southern Indiana. Scott County is the epicenter of that epidemic.
Federal health officials will begin working in the area this week. At the same time, a local doctor is pushing for a change in state law he believes could help contain the spread.
The CDC is stepping in to help. Disease Intervention Specialists and what’s called an “Epi-Aid” team are expected to start this week.
Most of those infected shared needles while injecting a powerful prescription painkiller, but some of the HIV cases have been linked to unprotected sex.