He paused for a moment at a faded, single-story home that once knew better days.
The empty house could be razed, he said, as part of a city program to remove blight.“That’s my grandmother’s house,” he said.
“This isn’t anything new to us.”Spicer now finds his rural hometown at the core of the state’s worst-ever outbreak of HIV, one so grave that Gov. Pence also authorized a short-term needle exchange to fight the virus’ spread, an exception to Indiana’s conservative anti-drug policy that bars programs to trade dirty needles for clean ones.
But for Austin’s lifelong residents, the rash of infections making the headlines is a symptom of a deep-rooted problem dating back decades.
There is a lack of opportunity here, Spicer said, few jobs, few resources and even few things to do. William Cooke, Austin's only doctor, said the city's drug abuse problem has steadily worsened. "A wagon wheel that digs deeper and deeper." A recent HIV outbreak lead the governor to declare a state of emergency. William Cooke, Austin's only doctor, said the city's drug abuse problem has steadily worsened. "A wagon wheel that digs deeper and deeper." A recent HIV outbreak lead the governor to declare a state of emergency.
(Sarah Parvini / Los Angeles Times)“We’ve always been a step behind and struggling to keep our heads above water,” he said.
Between 19, the rate of HIV infection in women age 50 to 59 rose 56 percent. According to the CDC, 20 percent of the 1.1 million American men and women living with HIV/AIDS do not know they have the disease.
“Often times for the court it is easy to tell when someone is dangerous. His crime: having sex without first disclosing he had HIV.
California mother and grandmother Nell Davis, 64, doesn’t fit any of the past profiles of those at high risk.
But she has become one of the new faces of the disease and was recently featured in the PBS documentary Endgame.
Austin, founded in 1853, was once best known as an important rail stop between Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky.
A city of 4,200 residents, it’s surrounded by farmland but also home to four large manufacturing plants.