158 people test positive for HIV in SE Indiana outbreak

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – State health officials say 158 people have tested positive for HIV in a southeastern Indiana outbreak tied to needle-sharing among intravenous drug users.

The 157 confirmed cases and one preliminary positive case announced Tuesday are up from 154 confirmed last week.

Nearly all of the cases in Indiana’s largest-ever HIV outbreak have occurred in Scott County, about 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky. Officials say the outbreak is largely driven by needle-sharing among people injecting a liquefied form of the painkiller Opana.

Gov. Mike Pence has authorized a Scott County needle-exchange program to combat the outbreak.

County officials will hold a hearing Wednesday on whether to seek state approval for a year-long needle-exchange.

Officials say 168 people are participating in the current exchange, which has distributed nearly 16,300 clean needles.