In February 2015, state officials reported an outbreak of HIV in southeastern Indiana. According to the state, at that point there had been "26 confirmed and four preliminary HIV positive cases since mid-December" of the previous year.
Since then, 184 people in Indiana have been diagnosed with HIV. What's more, it's estimated that "the lifetime cost of treatment for those impacted by Indiana’s HIV outbreak could reach $58 million," WFYI reports. According to the Center for Disease Control, "Currently, the lifetime treatment cost of an HIV infection is estimated at $379,668 (in 2010 dollars)."
Some have suggested that the outbreak could be linked the closing of five Planned Parenthood clinics within the state, including one located in southeastern Indiana (Scott County).
As the Huffington Post reported in March, "The Scott County clinic and four other Planned Parenthood facilities in the state, all of which provided HIV testing and information, have shuttered since 2011, in large part due to funding cuts to the state's public health infrastructure." Since its Planned Parenthood clinic closed in 2013, Scott County has been without an HIV testing center.
MTV News spoke to Maureen Manier, communications spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, about the possible link between the HIV outbreak and the closing of the Scott County clinic. "The reality is a little more complex, because it is Planned Parenthood, but it's also really a decline in funding for Indiana's public health infrastructure as a whole."
"For Planned Parenthood, between 2005 and 2014, our funding from all government sources declined 42 percent," she added.
Each year, Planned Parenthood provides 704,000 HIV tests in addition to information about various STIs.
"What happened in Scott County -- you can't attribute it to the closing of the Planned Parenthood center, but you can say that there's really been a decline in government funding throughout the state for all providers, not just us, and that certainly affects most of all in Indiana the least populous areas such as Scott county."