Kanawha HIV Taskforce reviews latest data in monthly meeting Tuesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — As health officials on the Kanawha County HIV Taskforce met Tuesday, data revealed there have been three new HIV cases reported in the county since the body’s last meeting on Jan. 11.

Tuesday’s meeting marked the one-year anniversary of Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, the head of HIV prevention for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, telling the task force that the county’s HIV outbreak is ‘one of the most concerning in the United States.’

Suzanne Wilson, the Director of HIV, STD, Hepatitis at the Bureau of Public Health gave the case update, replacing Shannon McBee, State Epidemiologist with state DHHR for the day. Wilson said one of the new cases was diagnosed in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the other two cases were diagnosed in the first quarter of 2022.

“Data reflects an increase of three new HIV diagnoses from the last time we met in January, bringing the total for Kanawha County since the beginning of 2019 to 97,” Wilson said.

She further stated that 41 of the 53 cases identified in 2021 in Kanawha County have been confirmed to be associated with injection drug use.

Wilson reported that the epidemiology of those cases has not changed.

“Slightly more male cases than female, 79 percent of the cases are between the ages of 20 and 40, 56 percent of cases report being unstably housed or homeless in the past 12 months,” Wilson said.

WATCH: Feb. 8 Kanawha County HIV Taskforce meeting

Wilson also noted the HIV Medical Care Status of Kanawha County outbreak cases moved ‘in a positive direction.’ There was a slight increase of individuals, 41, who sought medical care within 30 days of diagnosis.