FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - The Centers for Disease Control warned us pockets of HIV caused by IV drug use could spike in the coming months, and it has in Northern Kentucky.
"Not a surprise to you?" WKYT's Miranda Combs asked State Representative and Director of Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy Kim Moser.
"No, not really," she said. "No one wants to have these conversations. We wish we didn't have to."
The conversation started in Northern Kentucky last week at a press conference. Startling HIV numbers were spotted by the Kentucky Department of Public Health in the northern counties of the state.
Dr. Jeffery Howard made the announcement that last year, of the 37 cases of HIV diagnosed in Northern Kentucky, 18 were caused by IV drug use. "In the past it's usually about five cases per year and that's stayed steady for the last five years," Dr. Howard said.
Howard went on to explain, "The reason it's a big deal is because in the past, Scott County Indiana had an outbreak of HIV. Now again, we don't have an outbreak and our larger communities aren't at risk here, but they had an outbreak that was tied to intravenous drug use so once we noticed this trend in our data that put us on high alert."
Rep. Moser said the only answer she knows of is more needle exchanges. There are only one or two in Northern Kentucky. "What I would say is if anyone has a better idea, please share it because we are desperately looking for ways to prevent transmission of these horrible communicable diseases."