HIV cluster update: No new cases in past week

The investigation and public health response for the cluster of  HIV cases in north Seattle among heterosexuals who use injection drugs continues.  Most importantly, we have not identified any new cases of HIV transmission in the past week.  We did determine that one case diagnosed in early 2018 is linked to the cluster.  Therefore, the recent cluster includes 9 cases that have been newly diagnosed since February.

As we discussed in the Public Health Insider blog last week, HIV infections among heterosexual people who inject drugs are diagnosed every year.  In addition to the 9 cases in the cluster, in 2018, medical providers in King County diagnosed HIV infection in 7 additional heterosexuals who inject drugs.  To date, these 7 cases have not been linked to the cluster of cases in north Seattle.  Thus, a total of 16 heterosexuals who inject drugs have been diagnosed with HIV in 2018.  This number is lower than that reported in last week’s blog because additional investigation determined that one case was in a person who is not heterosexual and two cases were diagnosed prior to 2018.

HIV testing and treatment, condoms, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and access to clean needles are priority strategies to prevent the spread of HIV. Public Health – Seattle & King County continues to work with partners in this effort:

  • Providing additional HIV testing and condoms at places where at-risk people live and congregate, including in north Seattle, at the Public Health Belltown needle exchange and in the King County Jail;
  • Expanding needle exchange services and PrEP access in North King County;
  • Partnering with local hospitals to expand HIV testing in emergency rooms and with clients who use injection drugs; and
  • Assisting people with newly diagnosed HIV get medical care to treat their HIV infection in order to remain healthy and prevent transmission of the infection.

Look to the Public Health Insider blog for new developments in the investigation.

Published on 9/7/18