HIV SOS: Action sought for spike in cases in West Virginia

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Dozens of people form the phrase “HIV SOS” Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Charleston, W.Va. Activists are calling on the city of Charleston to declare a public health emergency for new HIV cases and prescription drug overdoses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this year declared an HIV outbreak related to intravenous drug use in Kanawha County “the most concerning in the United States.” (AP Photo/John Raby)

CHARLESTON, WV (AP) — Dozens of volunteers in West Virginia have formed the letters HIV SOS as activists sought a public health emergency declaration for one of the nation’s highest spikes in such cases.

Volunteers in red T-shirts spelled out the letters Saturday in Charleston.

Solutions Oriented Addiction Response co-founder Joe Solomon called on the Charleston City Council and the mayor to act on the HIV crisis and overdoses from prescription pain pills.

He says it needs to be treated like the emergency that it is.

Federal health officials call the recent spike in HIV cases related to intravenous drug use in the surrounding county the most concerning in the United States.

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