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Getting Right: An HIV Outbreak Spurs Change in Austin, Indiana

Seth Herald

Ravaged by one of the worst outbreaks of HIV in recent history and an underlying epidemic of injection drug addiction,  a small rural community is changing fast as it grapples with the fallout of the crisis. In this 4-part series, reporter Jake Harper and photojournalist Seth Herald tell the story of shifting attitudes, new thinking, and signs of recovery.

Read and listen to the stories

Chapter 1: Recovering drug user Kevin Polly

Chapter 2: Police Chief Don Spicer

Chapter 3: Public health nurse Brittany Combs

Chapter 4: Stand Up youth group

>>Go to the series.

About The Series

This project was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a reporting collaborative exploring the impacts of place, policy, and economics on Americans' health. 

This project is also part of Images & Voices of Hope’s Restorative Narrative Fellowship, which gives journalists across the U.S. a stipend to spend six months telling stories of resilience and recovery. Jake Harper was named one of five inaugural IVOH fellows last year.

Jake Harper is an investigative reporter for Side Effects Public Media, and he is a co-host of the Sick podcast. He can be reached at