Public health officials in Massachusetts are warning about a spike in HIV infections among people who inject illegal drugs in Boston.
The state Department of Public Health (DPH) said in a letter to Boston health care providers Friday that six people have been newly diagnosed with the virus since Nov. 1.
The department is urging providers to step up efforts to ask patients about risky behavior and to test them for HIV, which can lead to AIDS.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year investigated after dozens of new cases were reported in Lawrence and Lowell.
DPH says it has not had any new reports of HIV in those cities since November. Some street outreach workers dispute that claim. The state helped increase the availability of clean needles to curb the transmission of HIV.
DPH says HIV transmission has risen in Massachusetts in recent years as the opioid epidemic persists.
With additional reporting by the WBUR Newsroom