Indiana public health officials say more than 40 people have received help in the first two weeks of a temporary needle exchange program implemented to stem an HIV outbreak in Scott County.
And it’s been so successful, Scott County health officials say a new needle exchange program is working and now are going door to door.
Authorities said Tuesday at a press conference in Austin, that as of Friday, 95 people in Scott County have tested positive for HIV, with an additional 11 preliminary positives.
The needle exchange, created in an emergency order by Gov. Mike Pence, gave out more than 1,500 syringes in exchange for 580 used needles.
Scott County Health Department nurse Brittany Combs says many have stayed away on fears they will be arrested if they go to exchange needles or that the system will be used to track them.
Combs says the program is anonymous, and users receive a card they can show police if they are stopped and found with needles.
The governor authorized a clean needle exchange program in his 30-day Public Health Emergency Declaration for Scott County. Today, we were told more than 1,500 clean needles have been distributed, while 580 dirty needles have been turned in.
Officials can only keep the program running until April 25. That’s when the governor’s executive order ends.