More than 150 US residents tested HIV positive in a tiny southern Indiana city where poverty and unemployment don’t seem to be the only problems the community faces. In and around Austin, needle sharing and pain killer addiction are the main contributors to what health authorities are calling an HIV outbreak.
The main cause of this atrocious epidemic seems to be needle sharing among addicts who were using a certain kind of painkiller called Obana. This medicine comes in liquefied form, thus can only be taken by injection.
A nurse from a state hospital commented that shockingly, a giant number of addicts were using the same needle no less than 300 times, until their arms got broken off.
Other causes include a lack of education and extreme poverty. Officials confirmed that there is a serious need to raise awareness and promote health education.
Government representatives are now forced to implement urgent needle exchanging-programs in order to stop the dangerous spread of the disease. Gov. Mike Pence released the initiative but workers in the health system complain that it is not running according to best practices. Some comment that this type of program may support drug abuse among the addicts.
At the same time, state officials are working on a new law that offers immunity to volunteers in the medical system.
All volunteers who work in the state system as physician assistants, advanced nurses or podiatrists can now offer routine treatments to those threatened by the virus. This is a measure that may have positive effects, as people with a great deal of know-how can help the poor and the misinformed.
However, all these measures can prove to be inconsistent, as people now face more serious problems. Great poverty and an extreme lack in education lead to addiction and to extreme habits with gruesome consequences.
The main steps that should be taken are strongly tied to changing people’s view on the importance of health and hygiene along with raising awareness regarding the risk factors when it comes to needle sharing.
People in Indiana are still reluctant to attend the needle exchanging programs, due to their resistance in changing their habits and fear to face responsibility for their actions.
HIV is one of the most dangerous diseases and for those hit by it there is no cure. Most of the times, HIV appears among drug users who share needles or as a consequence of unsafe sexual intercourse. Education is the main factor able to diminish the dangerous spread of the epidemic.
Image Source: gannett-cdn.com