It was indeed a happy sight to see Ethan Howard with his guitar strumming a happy tune! His song depicted happiness that he thought he could never get to HIV. This 26-year-old is gradually making his dreams come true with the support from his community and family. The budding young musician was once addicted, ill and had a severe stigma. He is one of the first of 235 people in southern Indiana, to get diagnosed with one of the severe HIV outbreak that hit rural America.
After five years of the HIV impact
Today, i.e. practically five years after the worst HIV outbreak, Howard considers himself as one of the three-quarters people who has a controlled HIV, so much so that it’s untraceable. It means, the disease can’t get disseminated even through sexual intercourse. He has resorted to the advanced treatment centers and been a part of the remedy.
The downside of the recovery
Even in this region with 4,100 recovers, not many people have been able to do about the lessons that came with the recovery! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has counted about 220 U.S counties susceptible to such HIV outbreaks based on increased death rates. Another reason is the increased opioid sales and an increased amount of drug injection. According to a Kaiser Health News report, about less than one-third come with working syringe exchanges. And similar programs that make tidy needles are available to the drug users. Incidentally, it was accountable for minimizing the growth of Hepatitis C and HIV. It also backed up Trump’s administration initiative for ending HIV within a decade.
Tough lessons to grasp
Today, there are soybeans, and cornfields encompass Austin, situated right off the Interstate 65 between Indiana polis, Kentucky, and Louisville. The city got affected because of economic blows across the decades. However, it still has its charm. Much before the outbreak, the opioid addiction of Opana had swept through the community. The people here were consuming melting down tablets and were injecting the same as well. Hence, they were sharing common needles. Local women were engaging in sex work to pay for the drugs. And there were homes where about three generations were using opioids, i.e. the young adults, their grandparents, and parents.
The remedy was not to be found! Austin didn’t get any addiction treatment centers and had only a single doctor. The government funding back in 2013 resulted in Planned Parenthood close to Scottsburg after HIV testing.
The essential lessons
The Missouri health officials informed that they took many steps for preventing HIV. They were offering HIV testing at multiple health agencies with disease intervention specialists connecting with people, who got examined for extra help.
However, the legislation for enabling syringe exchanges failed in Missouri in 2019. It was similar in Arizona and Iowa Indiana. Hence, averting yet another HIV crisis is not a complicated task. It is essential to use all that is expected to work. And in Austin, the multi-pronged approach is taking place as the ones who got affected by the disease are all set to reclaim a healthy life back.