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Butler County sees 700% increase in HIV cases attributed to use of injected drugs

Another city sees big spike in heroin overdoses
Posted at 11:07 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-30 02:36:34-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Cases of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) have increased by 700% since the beginning of 2021, according to a news release put out by the city of Middletown Wednesday evening.

The growth -- a comparison of new cases to those reported during the same period last year -- is attributed to the use of injected drugs.

“While this represents just eight new cases, the percent increase is alarming and something we need to understand so we can implement prevention tactics,” said Middletown health commissioner Jackie Phillips Carter.

Two sites in Butler County operate the blood-borne infectious disease prevention program: in Fairfield, behind Mercy Health Hospital, and in Middletown at 1300 Reynolds Avenue.

Included in the Exchange Project is information about overdose prevention, disease and injection safety, testing for disease and treatment referral. They also offer access to sterile injection equipment to prevent the spread of disease, access to naloxone, and distribution of personal care items such as condoms.

“If you are using injection drugs, it is important to make sure you have access to clean equipment to prevent the spread of not only HIV but also hepatitis and other blood-borne infections,” Phillips Carter said. “It’s also important to practice safe sex. If you need condoms, any of the local health departments or the Exchange Project can provide them for you. Please take advantage of the Exchange Project services to keep yourself and others healthy.”