The sudden surge of 163 HIV infections in rural Scott County Indiana has created a crisis that is reshaping conservative attitudes to needle exchange programs, writes Adam Wren in Politico.
The largest HIV outbreak in Indiana’s history reflects the changing face of the epidemic that “once primarily afflicted gays and minorities in deep-blue cities [but now is rising] in rural red states,” writes Wren. The virus is being largely transmitted by impoverished people injecting prescription painkillers and reusing needles.
Republican Gov. Mike Pence long opposed government funded needle exchanges but his administration has declared a public health emergency and has established needle exchange for another year.
This story offers a fascinating political view of fighting HIV in the US Midwest.