HIV cases are surging in Huntington, West Virginia, a city already ravaged by the opioid epidemic. Experts worry that the virus could proliferate farther still—particularly since Charleston, the state capital an hour away, shut down its syringe exchange last year. The move restricted access not only to clean needles but to HIV testing as well.
“It’s the looming disaster that we were all afraid of,” says Dr. Judith Feinberg, a professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine. “It’s hard enough to deal with the disease of addiction. And now they have HIV on top of it. It didn’t have to be that way.”