Indiana to Declare Public Health Emergency Over HIV Outbreak

Indiana is preparing to declare a public health emergency Thursday in a county in the southern part of the state over an HIV outbreak.

Health officials say 72 cases of HIV been confirmed in Scott County and seven other people have been preliminary positive for HIV infections. All of those infected either live in Scott County of have ties to it.

Indiana Republican Gov. Mike Pence said Wednesday he is considering a needle-exchange program as part of the public health emergency. Pence said he opposes needle exchanges as part of drug-control policy but is listening to health officials to determine the best way to stop the outbreak.

Pence plans to issue an executive order Thursday morning outlining actions to combat the outbreak. Sctt County usually sees about five HIV cases per year.

“This is a public health emergency and I’m listening to my health department, I’m listening to the Centers for Disease Control and I’ll make my decision based on the best science and the best way we can stop this virus and stop this outbreak in its tracks,” Pence said after meeting with local officials in Scottsburg, the county’s seat.