CHARLESTON, W. V. (AP) – U.S. Sen. John Manchin filed a congressional inquiry into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the largest state of North Virginia on Monday.
The Democrat from West Virginia filed a motion on behalf of the Canaan County Committee two months later when a CDC official warned that the county outbreak was “the highest in the United States.”
Commissioner Kent Carper said in a statement that the outbreak was “a matter of public health; it’s worthy of our full understanding.”
In a letter to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky, Mancin asked the CDC to review the commission’s concerns and respond by Friday.
On Monday, Mancin sent a letter to the CDC stating that it wanted to meet with health officials. It says the meeting will be attended by Dr. Jon Onatan Mermin, Director of the CDC National Center for HIV / AIDS.
In early February, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, Head of HIV Prevention at the CIA, addressed a meeting of the Kanava County HIV Working Group.
“It is possible that the current count is the tip of the iceberg,” said Daskalakis. “There are probably many more undisclosed cases in the community. “We are concerned that the transfer will continue.” The number of people living with HIV will continue to rise until immediate action is taken. “
The commission’s letter to Mancini asked whether the CDC had completed its formal investigation into the HIV wave in the region. The letter said the commission was concerned that statements about the outbreak as the nation’s most disturbing were “made without factual empirical evidence”.
As of 2014, only 12.5% of HIV infections in West Virginia were due to intravenous drug use. According to 2019 data, according to the State Department of Health, it was 64.2%. The growth was mainly due to the clusters of Canave և Cable counties.
In 2018, there were two cases of intravenous drugs related to HIV in the state of Canava in Charleston. In 2019, their number reached 15, and last year – at least 35.
By comparison, New York City, with a population of more than 8 million, according to the CDC, recorded 36 cases of HIV infection in 2019 due to intravenous drug use. In counties in other states like Kasavakh, on average, less than one person has been diagnosed with HIV among injecting drug users, Daskalakis said.
The wave, mainly gathered around Huntington, the capital of Charleston, is attributed at least in part to the cancellation of the needle exchange program in 2018, which offered clean syringes to injecting drug users who are unable to break the habit at all.
Needle exchange programs are included in the CDC’s recommendations for controlling outbreaks among intravenous drug users. Such programs exist in dozens of states, but are not without their critics, including in the state of West Virginia, who say they are not doing enough to prevent or stop drug abuse.
With less than a week left until the next session, the state legislature is considering a bill to regulate needle exchange suppliers.
The nonprofit Solutions Oriented Addiction Response provides clean needles to drug addicts in Charleston, and the group provides HIV testing information to residents, including the homeless. SOAR co-founder Sara Stone said the legislation could end her group’s needle exchange program.
Referring to the pending state bill, Charleston City Council on Monday evening postponed a vote on a proposed needle exchange decision until April 19.