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More people getting tested after announcement of STD outbreak in Milwaukee

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – Five days since the Health Department announced an outbreak of HIV and Syphilis, health leaders say the city is positively responding to the process, but at least one state leader says the city needs to step up their response.

The president at the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin says since last week’s announcement, they’ve seen a serious uptick of people coming in to get tested.

Last Wednesday, the Health Department announced a social network of 127 people who were infected with HIV, Syphilis, or both.

Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia McManus says she was made aware of the cluster in November or December. In response, the ARCW announced a $250,000 HIV prevention leadership fund to help different organizations come up with strategies to promote awareness and prevention.

State Senator Lena Taylor says it’s on the Health Department and local government to put a concrete plan in place.

“People are working in silos instead of working in an alignment to be able to more effectively use the resources and address the issue. I also believe that we need to do all hands on deck, make sure parents are informed,” said State Sen. Lena Taylor – D.

“We know from state data that between 40%-50% that young people are participating in sexual activity. Sadly, when we look around the country we are not educating our people enough. The news in Milwaukee is not good,” said Mike Gifford, President and CEO of the AIDS Resource Center of Wisconsin.

At ARCW, hours for testing have been extended to keep up with the demand.

CBS 58 reached out to the Health Department Monday to see if there is any forthcoming plan to address the problem. The call was not immediately returned.


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