CDC official: HIV outbreak lessons may spur ‘model response’

In this April 1, 2015 photo, Austin Police Chief Donald Spicer, left, and Patrolman Nathan Hall, center, and Maj. Lonnie Noble study a biohazard container for the temporary disposal of needles and other sharp objects at an HIV/AIDS training session in Austin, Indiana. (AP Photo/News and Tribune, Christopher Fryer)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A top official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says health officials hope to use the lessons learned from their reaction to an HIV outbreak in southern Indiana as “a model response” for the whole nation in combatting future similar crises.

Dr. Jonathan Mermin directs the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AID. He’s visiting Indiana with other top CDC officials to assess the multi-agency response in Scott County, the epicenter of Indiana’s outbreak that’s fueled largely by needle-sharing among intravenous drug users.

That county about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky, and nearby areas have seen 143 HIV-positive cases since December.

Mermin says Indiana’s outbreak “is the canary in a coal mine” and other similar outbreaks are likely to occur elsewhere in the U.S.


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