Public Health News For Indiana

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An opioid epidemic.  High  smoking rates.  Health care provider shortages. Indiana faces serious public health challenges.   Side Effects Public Media provides in-depth coverage of these issues and more.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that the U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse could lead to more severe outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C nationally, much like the outbreak now seen in Indiana. A health advisory the agency released Friday outlines steps that state health departments and medical providers should take to minimize the risk of that happening.

A temporary needle exchange program is set up at a Community Outreach Center in Austin, Ind.
Barbara Harrington / WFIU/WTIU

More than 130 people have tested positive since December, and the outbreak is no longer contained to just Scott County.

As the number of people living with HIV in Indiana increases, health officials, politicians and everyday people remain at odds over how to stop the disease from spreading.


needle exchange
Joe Mabel/Wikimedia Commons

Public health officials in Southeastern Indiana have been scrambling to contain an outbreak of HIV linked to intravenous drug use. Now, one Indiana lawmaker plans to introduce an amendment on Wednesday that would permit the distribution of clean needles to IV drug users.

If all goes according to plan, next year many Arkansas Medicaid beneficiaries will be required to make monthly contributions to so-called Health Independence Accounts. Those who don't may have to pay more of the cost of their medical services, and in some cases may be refused services.

Supporters say it will help nudge Medicaid beneficiaries toward becoming more cost-conscious health care consumers. Patient advocates are skeptical, pointing to studies showing that such financial "skin-in-the-game" requirements discourage low-income people from getting care that they need.

Is Raw Milk Worth The Risk?

Jun 3, 2014

Twenty states, including Indiana, have banned the commercial sale of raw milk, which has not been pasteurized or homogenized. But raw milk consumers such as Lida and Carl Pinkham have found a legal way to drink the milk they love: They own a cow share at a local dairy farm. Although Indiana law prohibits raw milk products from being sold commercially, there are no laws against drinking milk from your own cow; with a cow share, several people pay a small fee to receive a few gallons of raw milk each week.

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