LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A needle exchange program in Scott County, Indiana helped control the spread of HIV.

That's according to researchers at Indiana University - Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI). As part of the research, the number of HIV cases diagnosed during a county-wide outbreak was analyzed. 

From Nov. 18, 2014, through Nov. 1, 2015, 181 people in Scott County tested positive for HIV, making it the largest outbreak in a non-urban area in the U.S. among people who inject drugs.

Officials say the outbreak was fueled by people sharing needles to inject the drug Opana. Researchers found that once a needle exchange program was implemented, there was an 88 percent reduction in needle sharing.

Scott County's needle exchange was put into place as an emergency measure to fight the outbreak. It was the first time such a program had been tried in a non-urban area in the United States.

In April, county commissioners voted to keep the needle exchange program operating for at least another two years.

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