HIV cluster rises to 53 cases in West Virginia county

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FILE – In this May 10, 2012, file photo, a doctor holds Truvada pills in her office in San Francisco. Studies released on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 show the anti-AIDS treatment also cuts the chances that someone who’s still healthy becomes infected from risky sex or injection drug use. But with nearly 40,000 new HIV infections each year in the U.S., only a fraction of people who could benefit are prescribed the drug for prevention. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia health officials say the number of HIV cases in Cabell County has risen to 53.

The Herald-Dispatch reports the total increased by four cases in the past four weeks and nine cases in the past nine weeks.

The cluster has spread primarily among intravenous drug users.

The cluster, tracked since January 2018, represents a sharp uptick from the baseline average of eight cases annually over five years. Cabell County’s is currently the only active HIV cluster in West Virginia.

The situation is still defined as a cluster rather than a full outbreak. The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health characterizes a cluster as being confined to a certain population— in this case, IV drug users — where it may be able to be controlled with minimal risk to the general public.

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