EDGEWOOD, Ky. — An increase in the number of HIV infections among drug users has prompted health officials in Kentucky to investigate the occurrence.

The Northern Kentucky Health Department said in a statement Tuesday that the number of intravenous drug users who tested positive for HIV last year more than tripled from the previous year, jumping from five to 18. The total number of HIV cases also increased, from 25 cases to 37.

District Health Director Lynne M. Saddler said the numbers are concerning because they may indicate more widespread HIV infections in the area.

State and local health officials are recommending measures to limit further transmission and will investigate whether the current cases are linked, whether others are at risk and whether additional actions are necessary.

The statement says new HIV infections are concentrated in Campbell and Kenton counties.

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