Mike Pence was Governor of Indiana when the state had its worst HIV outbreak in its history. What could have led to the outbreak you ask? Well that have to be Pence’s moves to cut public health funding to places like Planned Parenthood and his reluctance to allow needle exchanges.
During his first year as governor the only Planned Parenthood location in Scott County, Indiana closed. That health center also happened to be the only place in the county that offered HIV testing. So, the 24,000 residents were out of luck when it came to testing.
On top of that, the county also had an opioid problem. As we all learned in grade school, sharing needles is a way to contract HIV. Even though the outbreak was realized in January of 2015, it took 4 months before Pence would agree to needle exchanges to reduce the damage.
A note on why the reluctance to allow needle exchanges is dangerous and uninformed:
“People think that if you give someone a syringe, it means they’re going to go out and inject drugs, and if don’t give them syringes, they won’t inject drugs,” Robert Childs, executive director of the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition, told HuffPost in 2015.