​Indiana HIV outbreak worsens, takes toll on families

AUSTIN, Ind - The HIV outbreak in southern Indiana is worsening. On Tuesday the state's Department of Health reported 135 cases of the virus, 46 more than two weeks ago. The outbreak is being spread by drug-users sharing dirty needles to shoot up drugs, particularly the painkiller Opana.

When CBS News first met 49-year-old Kevin Polly this month, he showed us the needles he used to inject Opana three to five times a day. Polly was able to get clean syringes from a needle exchange set up by the state. But for months he had been sharing contaminated needles with other users and is now diagnosed with HIV.

Indiana tries to curb HIV crisis linked to drug abuse

At the Community Outreach Center where dirty needles can be exchanged for clean ones, no questions asked, officials told us they discovered one needle that had been used 300 times.

"We see people's arms where they have abscesses because they use the same needle so many times," said Brittany Combs, a nurse who works at the needle exchange.

Combs is the first person addicts see when they arrive.

"It has been really difficult to hear their stories," said Combs. "People sit across from you in tears. They say they don't want to live like this anymore."

We went back to Kevin's house on Tuesday, but he was gone. His father Clyde said he'd checked into a rehab facility.

"You could tell he was going downhill," said Clyde.

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Clyde Polly, the father of a HIV positive drug addict says he doesn't expect his son to kick the habit CBS News

Clyde says he's not confident his son will kick the habit. He told us Kevin has about $14,000 in a 401(k) retirement plan, which Clyde thinks is "enough to put him away" - that is, enough to pay for a funeral for his son.

While they are proud of how their town has responded, no official we talked to was confident that the spread of HIV infections has been contained. As one official put it, "we have not yet reached the peak."

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.