CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia will receive nearly $2.4 million from the federal government to fund HIV prevention and treatment. The state is wrestling with one of the nation’s highest spikes in HIV cases related to intravenous drug use.
The surge, clustered primarily around the capital of Charleston and the city of Huntington, is being attributed at least in part to the 2018 cancellation of a needle exchange program that offered clean syringes to injection drug users not able to quit the habit altogether.
The state's U.S. senators, Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Shelley Moore Capito, announced the new funding on Thursday.
“Every West Virginian has felt the impacts of the drug epidemic on our communities, which has caused an increase in infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS,” Manchin said in a news release. “The COVID-19 pandemic has also made it more difficult for many West Virginians to seek the medical care they need.”