CDC to investigate HIV cluster in NKY, Hamilton County

CDC to investigate HIV cluster in NKY, Hamilton County
Unused needles that will be given out as part of the needle exchange program. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be helping the Hamilton County Public Health and the Northern Kentucky Health Department investigate a cluster of HIV cases.

Authorities said in Hamilton County, of 346 newly-diagnosed cases of HIV in 2017-18, 89 (26 percent) identified as injection drug users. In Northern Kentucky for the same period, 45 of 81 (56 percent) cases identified as using injection drugs.

“Last year, for the first time in Kentucky’s history, the most common risk factor for the transmission of HIV in a community was intravenous drug use,” Dr. Jeffrey Howard, M.D., commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said in a news release. “This marks a concerning transition, which we have been monitoring closely. One of the department’s top priorities is preventing the spread of diseases associated with intravenous drug use, which includes HIV. As such, we are happy to have representatives from the CDC to help assist us and our counterparts in Ohio as we continue our interstate partnership to prevent further spread of HIV.”

The CDC team arrived on Monday and will work in both Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky.

State and federal health officials will also be cooperating to conduct interviews and performing other studies, officials said.

This joint request for Epi-Aid support is the first of its kind involving Ohio and Kentucky.

Copyright 2018 WXIX. All rights reserved.