LOWELL, Mass. — More than 140 cases of HIV have been reported in the Merrimack Valley since 2015, according to a presentation by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
Boston 25 News first reported this story in March when it was suspected there was a potential HIV outbreak in the cities of Lowell and Lawrence.
In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was called in to assist DPH identify the scope of the cluster.
>> Street level programs in Merrimack Valley are fighting spread of HIV
The latest numbers show the vast majority of new infections involve people between the ages of 20 and 40 years old.
Fentanyl use is believed to be responsible for the spike in new cases.
Since our first report, $1.7 million in state and federal funding has been allocated to the region to help with the outbreak. That includes expanded testing, outreach, and education.
>> Opioid syndemic: The new public health crisis
Cox Media Group