(Springdale) The spread of HIV and Hepatitis C is becoming an increasing concern as the heroin epidemic continues to plague the Tri-state. Beginning Monday, the Cincinnati Exchange Project will have a mobile health clinic inside an RV at the Olde Gate Plaza on Northland Blvd. in Springdale. Heroin users will be able to exchange dirty syringes for clean ones. They'll also have access to free infectious disease and pregnancy testing and referrals for other medical care.

According to University of Cincinnati Professor of Internal Medicine Judith Feinberg, MD, family members and friends of addicts will be able to receive doses of nasal naloxone with training on how to use the drug. Dr. Feinberg, who initiated the project, say the drug prevents overdose deaths by reviving the person through an administered nasal spray. The mobile clinic will be open Mondays from 10a.m. to 2p.m. and Thursday from 3p.m. until 7p.m. Dr. Feinberg says the mobile clinic is open to anyone in need.

Dr. Feinberg says organizers are hoping to include more locations in Hamilton County, but because of laws against drug paraphernalia and the risk of law enforcement trying to arrest addicts they need to work with community leaders to allow the mobile clinic in their city without risk to addicts. She says Springdale leaders were the first to agree to allow the clinic in their city with the approval from city councilors and law enforcement. Dr. Feinberg says she was turned down by former Cincinnati leaders, including the mayor and police chief. But she says Cincinnatis new Mayor John Cranley has agreed to meet with her and discuss opening up the clinic in Cincinnati. Dr. Feinberg says just throwing people in jail wont stop the heroin epidemic, and hopes the community will start treating addiction as a disease instead of a moral failure.

People wanting to volunteer in the Cincinnati Exchange Project or donate money can go to www.CincyEP.org or call 513-584-5349