A cluster of HIV cases were reported from Cabell County, Tuesday. The Cabell-Huntington Health Department confirmed 28 cases of HIV in the county, which is only a couple hours from our region. The Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department is keeping an eye on the situation.
Candace Hurd is the Director of Nursing. She said there are precautions people in our region can take.
“We haven’t identified any cluster of cases here in Raleigh County, but that typically means when you see an increase in number that somehow may be associated with each other,” Hurd explained.
HIV is typically spread through the exchange of blood or bodily fluids. In the case of Cabell County, dirty needles are believed to be the primary cause. But once the disease takes hold in the area, sexual intercourse can be a primary transmitter of HIV.
“Making certain of our number of partners, making sure we are in monogamous relationships so that you’re a lot less risky. As far as other things where they might have a blood or body fluid exchange, is making certain that if you are receiving tattoos or piercings that you are going to an actually legitimate facility and having those done,” Hurd said.
Lab work and preventative medication can be major preventative factors in the spread of the disease.
“There’s medications out there for preventive, it’s called Prep, and it’s medications you can take on a daily basis to help prevent you from being or developing a case if you are exposed,” Hurd said.
She aslo said the health department is one of many places that can prescribe Prep.