Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence on Thursday allowed the use of a needle-exchange program in short-term in the rural county for fighting against the largest outbreak of HIV infections in the history of the state, all associated with the intravenous prescription drug abuse.
The Republican Governor said that he was personally against the needle-exchange programs, but he signed an emergency order for allowing one recommended by the federal health officials that are used in Scott County in southern Indiana near the Kentucky border.
80 cases have been recorded from Scott County since December. They all were linked with injected drugs. The county is allowed to set up a needle-exchange program under the order. The state health department will remain restricting towards suppressing the outbreak. HIV is the deadly AIDS- causing virus.
According to Pence, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended the needle-exchange program. The company is willing to support one if the county officials want to do it.
“This is all hands on deck,” Pence said in news conference.
Such programs offer users of intravenous drug with sterile needles for the prevention of the infections from the sharing of contaminated needles.
There are some opponents of the programs, saying needle exchanges boost drug use.