In response to the recent article, "More than 60 new HIV cases in Manatee in 2015," two important elements to the uptick in blood-borne disease were left out: injection drug users (IDU) and syringe exchange programs (SEP). The increase in HIV diagnoses can likely be attributed, in large part, to the increase in heroin use; specifically injection use.
The answers to curbing heroin use and HIV increase are harm reduction and SEP.
According to the U.S Surgeon General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the National Institute of Health, SEP reduces drug use and the transmission of HIV and HEP C; and those with access to SEP are much more likely to enter treatment for drug use.
In the article mentioned above, Priya Rajkumar declares that "Tallahassee is supportive and is doing whatever they can ..."
First, Tallahassee received IDEA Act HB81 this legislative session, which allows for a SEP pilot program at the University of Miami. Similar bills have been introduced five years running. The bills have suspiciously never made it to committee, much less to the floor for a vote.
Second, Rajkumar cites efforts to "reach two separate high-risk groups;" however, neither of the high-risk groups referenced in the article are IDU. The article ignores the most at-risk group for contracting or transmitting HIV and HEP C -- IDU.
It seems that the Florida model is to continue the abstinence-only, drug-free paradigm which has failed society for over half a century. It's evidenced in Tallahassee's inattention to SEP, the lack of harm reduction in the state, and the continued mega-funding of the failed paradigms.