Facing long term HIV epidemic, Scott Co. officials relocate 'one - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Facing long term HIV epidemic, Scott Co. officials relocate 'one-stop-shop' and needle exchange

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As local officials take more control in the response, the 'one-stop-shop' and needle exchange program is moving. As local officials take more control in the response, the 'one-stop-shop' and needle exchange program is moving.
AUSTIN, Ind. (WDRB) -- It's a health crisis Scott County will face for decades to come as 172 people have tested positive for HIV so far.

As local officials take more control in the response, the 'one-stop-shop' and needle exchange program is moving. 

The Scott County Health Department signed a lease for their new satellite office Tuesday. It will be located at 825 Highway 31 North, in Austin. 

"They will check in here," said Preparedness Coordinator Patti Hall, while taking WDRB News on a tour of the facility. 

She showed us rooms for immunizations, testing, help signing up for healthcare and exchanging needles. 

"We're still getting new people signed up," Hall said about the needle exchange program. "We're losing some of them because people are going to rehab." 

She says the services that have been offered for months at the Community Outreach Center will be the same. LifeSpring will also open a satellite clinic in the building to help people with mental health and substance abuse issues. 

"It is pretty much right in the heart of the area that we need to be in to reach of the most people," Hall said about the new location. 

It's in the north end of town -- near neighborhoods where officers say they see a lot of criminal activity. 

It's also right next to the Austin Police Department. 

"There initially was concern, there still is concern," Hall said. "This was the best place for us to be as far as having a location that was just about ready to move into so we that could start services as quickly as we could." 

Hall says people using the needle exchange can go in through a side door but Austin's police chief says his officers will not be focusing on the parking lot to make arrests. 

"We're going to have the same stance we've had all along," said Chief Donald Spicer. "Health's the number one priority. We're not here to hinder that. If they can get in there and use the program, we want them to." 

Local health officials say this new office will be open at least until next May. 

"The need is still there," Hall said. "We feel that the need is going to continue for some time and we're going to do our best to be here and offer services at least one day a week." 

While the 'One-Stop-Shop' will be open every Wednesday, officials say the needle exchange program will be available five days a week. 

More about the southern Indiana HIV outbreak here.

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