Note: We are very interested in partnering with a non-profit organization to conduct a Train-the-Trainer workshop in KY. If you know of an organization or if your organization is interested please contact me at email@example.com to discuss – Alan for www.hcvadvocate.org
“Growing intravenous drug use by people sharing syringes to inject heroin and other substances” has helped make Kentucky a national hotbed for cases of hepatitis C, “which ultimately could mean a staggering cost to taxpayers to treat people with the disease,” Bill Estep reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“Giving addicts clean needles can help stem the spread of the disease, but many Kentucky counties considered at greatest risk for an outbreak have not approved such programs,” Estep notes. His story has a map of syringe exchanges and the Kentucky counties that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers most at risk for an outbreak of HIV or hepatitis C due to IV drug use. Of the 220 counties identified, Kentucky has 54, almost half its total number of counties.
“The programs have only been legal in Kentucky since 2015, when the legislature authorized them in the face of mounting IV drug use,” Estep notes. Now there are 33, nine of which are not in operation yet. They are run by local health departments with approval of the county fiscal court and the city where the exchange is located.
Wayne County’s needle exchange program is continuing to grow, with more clients seeking drug treatment as well as clean needles, county health officials say. And that growth could lead to an expansion of the program.
The Wayne County Health Department started its exchange in August 2016 after winning approval to do so from state health officials. State law allowed for counties to run an exchange for one year before having to apply again to continue the program.
Legislation passed in this year’s session of the Indiana General Assembly will make it easier for counties and municipalities to start and continue needle exchange programs, Wayne County Health Department Executive Director Eric Coulter said.
After a slow start in the final months of 2016, the Allen County Syringe Services Program has been progressing well, said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan on Monday.
“We have been very pleased with the people who have come in,” said McMahan about the center at 519 Oxford St. that has been open since last November. “They have been responsible and have brought in their dirty needles.”
McMahan gave an update on the program — which provides new syringes to drug users in exchange for dirty ones to prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C — at Monday evening’s quarterly meeting of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Department of Health.
Indiana could soon see needle exchange programs popping up statewide in an attempt to stem rising rates of hepatitis C and stave off another HIV epidemic linked to intravenous drug use like the one Scott County faced two years ago.
But if the nine programs underway in Indiana are any indication, the success of future programs will vary widely.
Earlier this month, the Indiana General Assembly passed a bill allowing local governments to establish syringe or needle exchange programs without having to receive state approval. Indiana’s needle exchange program law that was passed two years ago required the State Department of Health to review and approve requests for such programs.
JOHNSTOWN — Ten percent of the 200 patients who signed up for voluntary screenings at the Johnstown Free Medical Clinic have tested positive for Hepatitis C, the nonprofit reports.
Though the sampling is not representative of the region as a whole — the clinic is set up for low-income individuals, many with addiction and other mental health problems — the findings are a major red flag, according to Rosalie Danchanko, the nonprofit’s executive director. Hepatitis C infections can last a lifetime and cause cirrhosis of the liver or liver cancer.
Nationally, the Center for Disease Control estimates that between 2.7 and 3.9 million out of 316 million Americans have the disease. That means the incidence rate being found at the Johnstown Free Medical Clinic is 10 times higher than the national average.
Southern Nevada’s first comprehensive needle exchange program has been launched.
The program, which involves the Southern Nevada Health District and Trac-B Exchange, in collaboration with the Nevada AIDS Research and Education Society, includes a delivery component brand new to the United States-vending machines.
The implementation of the needle exchange program and vending machine pilot program is the result of efforts by the Health District, the Harm Reduction CenterLV and Trac-B Exchange in collaboration with NARES.
More Kentucky adults favor syringe exchanges than oppose them, and the more they know about them, the more likely they are to support them, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll.
Kentucky’s legislature approved syringe exchanges in 2015 to decrease the spread of HIV and hepatitis C, which are commonly spread by the sharing of needles among intravenous drug users. They require local approval and funding and are often called needle exchanges; a needle is part of the syringe.
In the Sept. 11-Oct. 19 survey, 56 percent of Kentucky adults polled said they were familiar with needle-exchange programs, while 44 percent weren’t familiar with them; and 49 percent favored the programs, 43 percent opposed them and 8 percent said they weren’t sure.
BOONE COUNTY, Ind. – A Hepatitis C outbreak is prompting Boone County leaders to consider a needle exchange program, according to a county council member. The county has seen an increase in the number of new cases, with most people being infected by sharing needles to inject drugs.
There were 65 new cases of Hepatitis C by the end of 2016, council member Tom Santelli (R-District 1) tells CBS4. He said that there were under five cases in the entire state back in 2002.
“We have to get ahead of the curve,” Santelli said.