With 220 counties in the U.S. identified as at-risk for an HIV and hepatitis C outbreak, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) is aiming to better understand drug use, how to curb it and how to prevent the spread of infectious disease.
Southern West Virginia will be one of the areas studied, including Raleigh, Wyoming, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Boone, Logan and Kanawha counties.
Twenty-eight of West Virginia’s 55 counties were included in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s at-risk list, which was formulated after an outbreak of HIV infections related to injection of prescription opioids in late 2014 in the rural, Scott County community of Austin, Ind.
“The grant will be administered in two phases,” explained Dr. Judith Feinberg, a professor at West Virginia University. “There’s a two-year planning and information gathering part, then the last three years are implementation of programs and services based on what we found out in the first two years…”