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Indiana state epidemiologist says HIV outbreak has peaked

AUSTIN, Ind. (AP) – Indiana’s state epidemiologist says she believes the outbreak of HIV in the southern part of the state has peaked.

Pam Pontones tells The (Louisville) Courier-Journal that there are “very few new cases” – possibly one, two or sometimes none weekly. The outbreak centered in the town of Austin in Scott County.

The number of cases more than doubled to 153 from late to mid-May and at the outbreak’s height as many as 22 new cases were diagnosed weekly.

There are currently 175 cases.

Dr. William Cookie is the only private doctor in the town of 4,200. He says numbers are “still concerning” but “much, much better than where we were.”

Public health officials have attributed the outbreak to intravenous drug use. It’s the largest HIV outbreak in Indiana history.