By JoAnn Snoderly, WV News
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — While the latest surge in the COVID-19 pandemic has stretched resources in hospitals and strained public health staff, work has simultaneously continued to address HIV clusters in two West Virginia counties stemming from the drug epidemic.
“We are still seeing cases. The work is still steady, obviously indicating that we are still seeing new cases of HIV, and they’re still in that same population — the (intravenous drug use) and homeless population,” said Kathleen Napier, nurse director for the Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
According to preliminary data from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, there have been 89 confirmed cases of HIV diagnosed in West Virginia this year through Oct. 4. This number could change as information is collected and analyzed.
The majority of these cases were reported in Kanawha and Cabell counties, where outbreaks linked to injection drug use continue.
In 2018, intravenous drug use was reported in less than half of the 87 HIV cases diagnosed in the state. Last year, 77.5% of the state’s 129 cases reported intravenous drug use, according to the preliminary DHHR data…