Clark County finally begins needle-exchange program

(WISH Photo)

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana county has started its needle-exchange program aimed at curbing the spread of hepatitis C and HIV after struggling for months to find funding.

Clark County’s needle exchange program started Thursday at a clinic in Jeffersonville. It will be open for six hours every Thursday.

The program run largely by volunteers didn’t have funding until it received a $7,000 grant in October from the Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis. It allows intravenous drug users to exchange used needles for clean ones and to receive HIV and hepatitis C testing and counseling on resources for addiction treatment, if they choose.

County health officer Dr. Kevin Burke says the county has 25 percent more HIV and AIDS cases and 30 percent more hepatitis C cases than the state average.

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