CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Kanawha County is seeing a large increase in the number of HIV cases, so the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department is taking testing on the road. Today was the first day in a series of mobile testing clinics for the public.
Kanawha County Health officials became concerned when a CDC official stated this is the “most concerning” county for HIV outbreaks in the United States.
“When you hear 50 HIV cases, they may not sound like a lot, but when you’re seeing that number in a population that historically you may see less than five, that is concerning when it’s above baseline,” Christine Teague, CAMC’s Ryan White Program Director said.
Those numbers have now been put on health officials’ radar. Monday, the Kanawha County Commission reached out to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin and U.S. Senator Shelly Moore Capito asking for a congressional investigation into the CDC’s comments.
The CDC responded to Sen. Manchin that “We are eager to meet with WV Public Health officials to listen to their concerns regarding HIV rate in West Virginia.”
Teague says the additional HIV cases seem to be from “injecting drug use is the primary risk factor and many of them of homeless.”
Dr. Sherri Young with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department says part of the spike may be attributed to more people going to the hospital for treatment.
“What that tells us is that we’re missing something. If they come to the hospital to be tested for HIV or because of a complication from HIV, then we need to connect to them to get treatment before they become inpatient,” Dr. Young said.
For the month of April there are 29 testing events. Click here for more information.