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Scott County starts needle exchange program under Governor’s order

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (April 4, 2015) – Governor Pence signed an emergency executive order last month to help fight the growing HIV epidemic in Southern Indiana.

The emergency order will suspend Indiana’s ban in Scott County only, and put in place a needle exchange program.

Each person will receive enough needles for a week, to prevent sharing and also the spread of HIV by needle use.

So far in Scott County alone, there 84 confirmed cases of HIV, all linked to drug use.

Health care workers say it may be difficult to get people to take advantage of the service

“By coming forward, asking for help, you’re not going to get arrested,” said Dr. William Cooke, “You’re not going to get in trouble. Your privacy is going to be held. No one is going to know your name.”

Governor Pence’s executive order also mandates the establishment of health care registration, free HIV testing and a community health center in the county.