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Health & Science

Kanawha Commissioners Question HIV Label For The County From CDC

The Kanawha Charleston Health Department in downtown Charleston.
The Kanawha Charleston Health Department in downtown Charleston.

Kanawha County Commissioners have requested a Congressional inquiry into statements that the county has the “most concerning” HIV outbreak in the country.

A presentation by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employee to the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the West Virginia Congressional Delegation raised the initial alarm.

Commissioners sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin and he in turn sent a letter to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky asking for clarification. They want to know if the CDC has completed an official investigation and who determined the situation in the county was the most concerning.

The original presentation said there were 51 cases of HIV in the county since January 2019 and 35 in 2020 alone.

In his letter, Manchin said: “I am submitting a formal congressional inquiry for your prompt response. Given the pressing public health nature of the issue, I request that your staff review the enclosed concerns and contact the Kanawha County Commission no later than Friday, April 9th.”

The original letter from the county commission asked several questions including: “Has the CDC completed an official investigation into the rise in HIV cases? If not, why not?” and “Is the rise the most concerning in the United States of America?”

They raised concerns of the determination being made without factual or empirical evidence, and asked if there was a peer-reviewed, evidence-based finding that would support the “alarming allegation.”

You can read the letter from the Kanawha County Commission to Manchin here. And Manchin’s letter here.


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