By Teddy Cambosa

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has acknowledged the plea from Kanawha County in West Virginia regarding reports of an HIV outbreak in the area.

Image/ National Atlas of the United States

In a public letter addressed to W. Kent Carper, president of the Kanawha County Commission, CDC director for National Center for HIV/AIDS Jonathan Mermin stated that it welcomes the opportunity to work with Carper, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health in response efforts.

“CDC’s domestic HIV program conducts monitoring to detect and respond to HIV outbreaks across the United States. Since the beginning of 2019, there have been more than 50 new HIV diagnoses among PWID living in Kanawha County with 35 new HIV diagnoses identified among people who inject drugs in 2020. This is considerably higher than the prior annual average of fewer than five new cases among PWID in Kanawha County. Among U.S. counties with a population size similar to Kanawha County, the average number of HIV diagnoses among PWID in 2019 was fewer than one,” the letter explained.

They also added, “State and local public health officials noted the significant increase in cases and responded with efforts to expand prevention and care services. An outbreak of this size requires large-scale, sustainable efforts to prevent further spread. CDC has been working with state and local health departments to respond effectively.”

Teddy Cambosa is a graduating BS Biology student and a former campus journalist at Batangas State University. He is also currently writing for MARKETECH APAC, a small APAC-focused marketing news site.