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Public health officials elsewhere also have pointed to “hookup” apps as a contributing factor in rising numbers of HIV cases among young people.
Though some local officials have raised concerns that the heroin problem could put the area at risk for its own outbreak, statistics so far have offered little evidence the drugs are a major factor in Michiana’s new HIV cases.
Hopper said statistics were not immediately available this week on the number of new clients who reported drug use as the source of their HIV diagnosis.
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Some experts have suggested younger people, especially those in the Millennial generation born between 1980 and the early 2000s, also may lack awareness about the risk of HIV and safe sex practices because they did not live through the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.
They now see HIV as more of a chronic nuisance than a deadly illness.
Joseph County and the surrounding area have reported a modest but noticeable rise in new patients living with the virus, driven by people younger than age 30 who contracted the disease through unprotected sex.
AIDS Ministries/AIDS Assist of Northern Indiana, one of the chief area nonprofits that offers services for people with HIV in a six-county area, recorded 11 new positive tests through June this year, surpassing the total of nine new positive tests through all of 2015.
Melissa Murawski, a disease intervention specialist who helps the state collect data on new HIV cases, said she has noticed a slight increase in the Michiana area but did not have statistics.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating