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Needle Sharing in Rural Areas Adds to HIV Risk

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MPR

The risk of HIV outbreaks in rural and suburban communities has increased in recent years. The rise can be attributed to the prescription drug abuse epidemic in the US, reports EMPR.com. When rural residents are forced to share syringes, transmission of HIV increases rapidly.

Scott County, Indiana, provides a cautionary tale for High Plains counties. The rural county has seen a particularly fearsome outbreak of HIV among needle-sharing prescription drug addicts. Between 2014 and 2015, HIV was diagnosed in almost 200 individuals there.

Philip Peters, a doctor with the CDC, called the surge “the largest outbreak that has occurred in the United States since the introduction of HIV treatment.” He added that the outbreak occurred because the community is rural and very poor, so there wasn't sufficient access to clean syringes.