TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)— Preliminary data released Thursday suggests Tippecanoe County's syringe exchange program, or Gateway to Hope, has been successful in reducing the spread of disease.
So far this year there has been a decrease in new Hepatitis C cases. In 2017 there were nearly 180 new cases and in 2018 there have been a little more than 70.
Participation in the program has also grown by 14 percent from June 2018 to September 2018. County Health Officer Jeremy Adler said something new this year is a recovery coach for participants.
"We hope to continue that part of our program and we are always looking for ways to improve what we are doing," said Adler.
From August 11, 2017 to September 30, 2018, 35,975 needles were distributed and 54,938 were collected.
85 percent of participants have been tested for Hepatitis C and 82 percent have been tested for HIV.
Adler also noted so far the number of HIV cases has not increased from last year to this year.
All of the data will be presented at December's County Commissioners meeting. This has to be done in order to renew the program for another year.