HIV Outbreak

Creative Commons/Pixabay

Researchers have known for decades programs that provide clean syringes to injection drug users lower transmission rates of diseases like HIV and hepatitis C.

Now, they have personal stories to back the numbers.

Seth Herald/Side Effects

Four days a week, public health nurse Brittany Combs drives her SUV around the small town of Austin, Indiana, handing out clean needles to injection drug users and talking to people about going to rehab.

It’s a task that can be rewarding—when one of her customers finally wants help to get off drugs—and a bit agonizing, because there’s often not a rehab bed ready for them.


 Legionella pneumophila bacteria
Janice Haney Carr / CDC

Also, troubling side effects of the crackdown on prescription painkiller abuse, an easier choice near the end of life, and drug companies find a sneaky way to pay doctors.

Seth Herald

Getting Right, Part 2

Read our entire Getting Right series.

Heading out into the field, public health nurse Brittany Combs is a little angry, and in a hurry. Driving the county’s mobile needle exchange through Austin, Indiana can be hectic. Today she’s on a mission to find Jessica, a young mother who wants to go to rehab. But Brittany keeps getting interrupted.

“I’m supposed to be going to get Jessica right now,” she says as she pulls out of the community center, where the needle exchange is based. ”I told her I’d be there at three. Well, that’s not gonna happen.”


RCAP

A new initiative known as Project Cultivate aims to connect counties with the resources they need to start a needle exchange program from scratch.

HIV public health brochure
Jake Harper/WFYI

A couple of weeks ago, Scott County public health nurse Brittany Combs started getting a lot more calls asking about STD testing.