Dr. Will Cooke is the only doctor in Austin, Indiana, a city that in 2015 experienced the worst HIV outbreak in recent U.S. history. Two years later, his work is still not done.
.In the span of a few months in 2015, nearly 150 cases of HIV were diagnosed in Scott County, most caused by needle sharing typical of the opioid epidemic ravaging the Midwest. In Austin, a town with a population of 4,200, HIV infection rates rivaled sub-Saharan Africa.
Cooke became certified in HIV treatment after the outbreak. His practice secured funding so he could offer free HIV testing and treatment. He set up a mobile unit to bring his practice into the community.
.New diagnoses have now slowed to one a month or fewer by Cooke’s estimates. The average national rate of viral suppression—the percentage of patients whose treatment has reduced the level of HIV in their blood to a negligible amount—is 25 percent. Thanks to the work of Cooke and his team, Austin’s suppression rate is 73 percent.Read the full story at the Indiana Daily Student