SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Three women hope to "Take Back Scott County" in response to the recent HIV epidemic and say something as simple as a trash pick-up could change the negative perception of their community.

Lindsey McDonald doesn't want her kids to be the next to find dirty needles.

"It's terrifying, absolutely terrifying. Every time I hear about another needle being found, another razor blade, my heart breaks a little more," said McDonald.

Scott County has at least 74 confirmed cases of HIV and health officials say they're linked to IV drug abuse.

"It's turned into a negative event and we're trying to turn that around to something positive, we're going to bring positivity back to Scott County," said McDonald.

She and two friends started the Facebook group “Take Back Scott County” and they're hosting a citywide cleanup.

"The CDC is actually going to supply us with the means to do this properly," said Erin Hopkins.

They'll be picking up at local parks. Places they say that have become hangouts for drug users.

"We're going to watch for drug paraphernalia and mark it,” said Hopkins, “and we're going to have trained individuals who can remove the paraphernalia from our community parks."

The HIV issue does have a lot of people talking in Scott County but tourism leaders hope it does not keep visitors away.

"Actually it's pretty emotional you know living here your whole life and for people to be boycotting you as a community saying 'I'm not going to Scott County, or Austin or Scottsburg" or whatever so it's actually kind of emotional," said Scott County Visitors Commission Marketing Director Brandon Polley.

Polley says Scott County is already working on new promotional videos to draw people to current attractions, restaurants and antique stores.

"It's so complex it's not just, you know, this HIV issue there's a lot of things to do and it's all about the people," said Polley.

Which is why “Take Back Scott County” is so important to these mothers.

"You know we're raising families here,” said McDonald. “My whole family lives here and it's important for us to have a safe place to go and be able to be out this summer and know that we're safe."

The “Take Back Scott County” event is coming up April 11th.

If you'd like to get involved just click here.


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