Governor Mike Pence authorized a needle exchange program for a limited time.
The growing outbreak of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in southeastern Indiana Gov. Mike Pence forced to issue an executive Thursday to declare a public health emergency in that state order.
The 79 confirmed cases are concentrated in Scott County and are related to intravenous use of an opioid analgesic known as Opana, prescribed to relieve pain.
During a press conference, Pence authorized the authorities to implement a limited one needle exchange program to stop the outbreak, despite having opposed them steadily in the past.
“In response to the health emergency, am willing to make an exception to my long opposition to such measures,” said the governor.
The needle exchange programs allow people to deliver used hypodermic needles and get other sterile, an effort to prevent diseases such as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and hepatitis spread.
The initial order will allow the exchange for 30 days, after which the governor reassess whether to extend it.