HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – A cluster of HIV infections is now present in Cabell County.
The majority of the cases are attribute to the sharing of needles among drug users.
Dr. Michael Kilkenny with the Cabell-Huntington Health Department says 28 cases of HIV have been confirmed.
Some of the people infected aren’t residents of Cabell County.
However, Dr. Kilkenny says programs to protect the public are already in place.
Those programs include the Harm Reduction Program; its purpose is to limit or prevent an HIV outbreak.
Another one of those programs is the Needle Exchange Program.
While those participating in riskier behaviors like sharing needles should be more concerned about this cluster of HIV, it’s programs like these that Kilkenny says allow the health department to be in contact with at-risk individuals.
“If you’re injecting, please stop injecting,” said Dr. Kilkenny, the Physician Director at the Cabell-Huntington Health Department. “If you can’t stop injecting, then use sterile equipmet for every injection every time and never share, give away, or take a needle from someone else.”
Dr. Kilkenny says it’s important to remind others that HIV cannot be contracted from touching, hugging, eating after people, or by swimming pools or toilet seats.
If you are at risk and need to be tested for HIV, Dr. Kilkenny says you can go to your primary care physician or go to the health department as people are readily available to help anyone that may need assistance.