Associated Press

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – Dozens of volunteers in West Virginia have formed the letters HIV SOS as activists sought a public health emergency declaration for one of the nation’s highest spikes in such cases.

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Volunteers in red T-shirts spelled out the letters Saturday in Charleston.

Solutions Oriented Addiction Response co-founder Joe Solomon called on the Charleston City Council and the mayor to act on the HIV crisis and overdoses from prescription pain pills. He says it needs to be treated like the emergency that it is.

Federal health officials call the recent spike in HIV cases related to intravenous drug use in the surrounding county the most concerning in the United States.