May 7, 2015

On Point: Indiana's Rural HIV Crisis

Scott County Health Department Public Health Nurse Brittany Combs talks about the needle exchange program at the Austin Community Outreach Center, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Austin, Ind.  - The Associated Press

Scott County Health Department Public Health Nurse Brittany Combs talks about the needle exchange program at the Austin Community Outreach Center, Tuesday, April 21, 2015, in Austin, Ind.

The Associated Press

Austin, Indiana, a town with just 4,200 people, is in the throes of a HIV outbreak. Austin is poor. With a huge opiate addiction problem. Addicts are sharing dirty needles. The governor declared a state of emergency and Tuesday expanded a needle exchange program to address the crisis. The issues facing Austin – addiction, poverty, unemployment –aren’t unique to rural Indiana. Communities across the country face similar challenges. With dire outcomes.

Tuesday's NPR program "On Point" featured WFYI's Jake Harper, who has been extensively covering the HIV outbreak, and Beth Meyerson, professor in the Indiana University School of Public Health and co-director at the Rural Center for AIDS / STD Prevention.

Listen.

 

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