JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) - A southern Indiana county has seen a slow start to its needle exchange aimed at curbing the spread of hepatitis C and HIV among intravenous drug users.

Clark County Health Officer Kevin Burke says the program has had a "slow but steady flow" of participants since it began Jan. 26.

Burke says the program's slow start was expected because it takes time to overcome "mistrust and suspicion" among IV drug users.

Needle exchanges provide those users with clean syringes to prevent needle sharing that spreads hepatitis C, HIV and other diseases.

The Ohio River county's exchange was approved by Indiana in August, but funding issues delayed its start for several months.

Clark County's exchange is open every Thursday at a Jeffersonville clinic.

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