Today, State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H., declared a public health emergency in Scott County for the period May 25, 2015 through May 24, 2016.
The declaration comes following a request from the Scott County Health Department for a needle exchange program, permitted under Senate Enrolled Act 461 in the case of public health emergencies, as they work to address the HIV outbreak in Scott County.
The HIV outbreak in Southeastern Indiana has now reached 160 cases (159 confirmed HIV tests and one preliminary positive).
On May 13, the Scott County Health Department met with the Scott County Commissioners to request operation of a needle exchange program. On May 15, a public hearing was held in Scott County to discuss and approve this action. This request was then submitted to the Indiana State Health Commissioner for approval.
Today’s declaration by ISDH comes in advance of next week’s expiration of Governor Pence’s most recent Executive Order declaring a public health emergency in Scott County.
This order permitted the Scott County Health Department to design and administer a limited and focused short-term needle exchange program as part of a comprehensive effort to combat HIV. Senate Enrolled Act 461, which the Governor signed into law on May 5, provides the legal framework under which this program will continue uninterrupted.
“We have had over 1,400 services utilized at the One-Stop Shop in Austin, all at no cost to the individual, including more than 300 people who have signed up for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “We know our efforts are working and I thank all of our partners, at the state, local and federal level, for their continued support during this emergency.”
Services at the Austin Community Outreach Center will continue until a transition plan is finalized and in place.
One-Stop Shop Update at the Community Outreach Center
ISDH opened a One-Stop Shop at the Austin Community Outreach Center on Monday, March 30, in coordination with local partners and other state agencies. Services provided include: access to state-issued ID cards, birth certificates, job counseling and local training, enrollment in HIP 2.0 insurance, HIV testing, HIV care coordination, substance abuse referrals and vaccinations against tetanus, Hepatitis A and B.
Total Services Utilized: 1,419
HIV Testing: 278
Bureau of Motor Vehicles: 111
LifeSpring Mental Health Services: 87
HIV Care Coordination: 81
Department of Health Vital Records: 203
Family and Social Services Administration (HIP 2.0 enrollment): 311
Job Referrals through Indiana Department of Workforce Development: 39
The Center is open Mon., Wed., Thurs. and Sat. 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tues. and Fri. from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Sun. from noon-6 p.m. Residents can contact the One-Stop Shop at (317) 605-1480.
Note: The Community Outreach Center will be closed on Monday, May 25, in observance of Memorial Day. It will reopen for normal business hours on Tuesday.
Scott County Needle Exchange Program Update
Operated by the Scott County Health Department, the needle exchange program includes Scott County residents only. Participants are counseled about their drug use and provided needles based upon their use for a week, as well as thick plastic containers for safe disposal of used needles. Participants and community members have brought used syringes in to the Community Outreach Center. State health officials expect the number of needles brought in to more closely resemble the number of needles provided as the exchange continues.
Participants are provided with substance abuse, mental health and other appropriate resources at every visit. The program collects basic demographic information for research and statistical purposes, but does not collect names.
Total Individuals Participating in the Needle Exchange: 171
Estimated Needles Brought In: *14,981
Total Needles Provided: 16,952
(*Needles brought in include both from the needle exchange program and community returned needles.)
The mobile unit is scheduled to be open daily from 3-6 p.m., but times may vary due to staffing limitations and weather.
The ABC Clinic which has been providing HIV testing and treatment since the beginning of this outbreak response will be transitioning from Foundations Family Medicine to another permanent location. Infectious disease physicians from IU Health will continue to provide care in a temporary location at the Community Outreach Center until a long-term solution is found. There will be no lapse in patient care.
Community Guidance for Needles
What to do if you find a needle:
Do not attempt to touch a needle or pick it up. Contact Scott County Dispatch at (812) 752-5550 to report the location of the needle within the community. If possible, stay with the needle and direct officers to it.
What to do if you are accidentally stuck by a used needle:
Wash the injured area right away with soap and water. Immediately go to the Emergency Department at Scott Memorial Hospital and tell the healthcare provider you have had a needlestick. Do not pick up the needle or attempt to take it with you. Report the location of the needle to Scott County Dispatch at (812) 752-5550.
Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at www.StateHealth.in.gov. Follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/isdh1. Use the hashtag #INstopHIV to follow the outbreak response on Twitter.
Hoosiers who do not have health care coverage or access to a doctor are encouraged to check availability for the new Healthy Indiana Plan—HIP 2.0—by visiting www.HIP.IN.gov or calling 1-877-GET-HIP-9.