Hamilton County, OH…… Hamilton County has experienced an increase in cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in 2017. There were 137 newly-diagnosed cases of HIV in 2016 and 184 in 2017, an increase of 34 percent.
Of concern is the large percentage increase among those self-identified as having used injection drugs, from approximately nine percent in 2016 to nearly 20 percent in 2017. Additionally, there is a disproportionate impact on the younger members of the population. More than 60 percent of the cases occurred in the 15-34 years-of-age group, with the largest increase among 15-24 years old (74 percent increase).
“This is exactly why we have moved the Bloodborne Infectious Disease Prevention Program under public health,” says Hamilton County Health Commissioner Tim Ingram. “It’s crucial that we put all the resources we have available to us in public health toward getting in front of this disease by providing testing services, clean equipment and most important, referral to treatment for those fighting the disease of addiction.”
The Bloodborne Infectious Disease Prevention Program is a partnership between Hamilton County Public Health, the Cincinnati Health Department, Interact for Health and the UC College of Medicine. “Because this program is now public health driven, we are able to provide a full array of public health services, along with sustainable funding to see the program into the future,” says Dr. Marilyn Crumpton, Cincinnati Health Commissioner. “The program is operational at three sites inside the County and we are working to expand into more areas.”
Included in the comprehensive program is education about overdose prevention, communicable disease and injection safety; testing for diseases and referral to treatment; hepatitis vaccination; safe disposal of injection equipment; access to sterile injection equipment to prevent the spread of disease; access to the overdose-reversing drug, naloxone; and distribution of personal care items, including condoms.
While the number of 2017 Hamilton County HIV cases is below 200, the cost for treating these cases is high. Lifetime costs for treating a person infected with HIV can reach close to $400,000.
For more information on the Bloodborne Infectious Disease Prevention Program, visit The Exchange Project on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hc.xchange or follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hc_xchange.
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Posted by: Mike Samet