Senator Joe manchinJoe Manchin Republican Senator Criticizes Biden’s Proposal to Increase Corporate Tax Rate Obstructionism Can Be Beat – I Know, Helped Do It Lawmakers Say Fixing Border Crisis Is Biden’s Job MORE (DW.V.) submitted a Congressional investigation Monday to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate an HIV outbreak in his state’s Kanawha County.
ABC News reports that Manchin requested the investigation on behalf of the Kanawha County Commission after the CDC warned that the HIV outbreak was “the most concerning in the United States.” Between 2014 and 2019, West Virginia HIV cases that were attributed to intravenous drug use increased by more than 50 percent from 12.5 percent to 64.2 percent, ABC News reported.
Kent Carper, chairman of the Kanawha County Commission, said in a statement that the outbreak “is a major public health problem and deserves our full understanding.”
During a February meeting with the county’s HIV task force, CDC’s chief of HIV prevention, Demetre Daskalakis, warned that current numbers may represent “the tip of the iceberg.”
“There are likely to be many more undiagnosed cases in the community. We are concerned that transmission will continue and that the number of people with HIV will continue to increase unless urgent action is taken, “said Daskalakis.
The outbreak, which is primarily focused on Charleston and Huntington, has been attributed in part to the cancellation of a needle exchange program in 2018 that offered clean needles to drug users who were unable to quit smoking.
The Charleston City Council is currently considering an ordinance that would restrict local needle exchange programs, ABC News reported. Sarah Stone, co-founder of Solutions Oriented Addiction Response (SOAR), which provides clean needles in Charleston, told ABC News that the ordinance would shut down similar programs.