CDC accepts Epi-Aid request for Kanawha County

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Representatives with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be in Kanawha County next week for HIV response efforts.

The state submitted a request on May 17 for the Epi-Aid response, to which the CDC submitted its response the following day. Representatives will assist Kanawha County health officials with testing and providing partner services. Two state disease intervention specialists are working with the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department to ensure services are available.

Dr. Sherri Young (File)

Dr. Sherri Young, the health department’s health officer and executive director, said it is unclear how many people will travel to Kanawha County.

“We should have within the next several days an idea about how many people will be coming, and that will be in addition to the DIS we have already received,” she said.

Kanawha County health officials have recorded 60 individual cases of HIV since 2018, including 13 total cases this year and two cases in the last two weeks.

The Epi-Aid is a public health investigation service to provide health departments with testing opportunities and build partnerships on disease response campaigns.

“What we’re doing is, especially with the people with injected drug use, if you have been identified as a person who has injected drugs and you do have HIV is walking you through the process to identify other people who have been put at risk so that they get tested and they get put onto medications and they will be traced,” Young said.

Young compared the services to the relationships built during the coronavirus pandemic to provide contract tracing and gather information on people who have tested positive.

“The CDC will help us gather that information and help us utilize it in a better way to get to the people that we need to and to provide care for them,” she added.

The health department has been providing HIV testing at various locations in Kanawha County. The next testing event will be Tuesday at Thomas Health at 4605 MacCorkle Ave. in South Charleston.

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