Citing a near-doubling in the number of HIV diagnoses associated with injection-drug use, the Ohio Department of Health has asked the federal government for authorization to fund syringe programs with grant money designated for HIV prevention.
In 2017, 121 HIV diagnoses across the state were attributed to injection-drug use, about 12 percent of the 1,015 total infections, according to state documents dated July 5 that include the request to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s a 92 percent increase over the 63 diagnoses attributed to drug use in 2015, which amounted to 6.7 percent of the 937 diagnoses reported that year.
The request to the CDC, signed by Ohio Director of Health Lance Himes, also refers to a skyrocketing number of hepatitis C infections, which also can be spread through injection-drug use. Further, it notes jumps in deaths attributed to injectable heroin and fentanyl, an increase in opiate-related admissions to publicly funded substance-abuse treatment centers and the rising use of syringe programs.