BEDFORD, Ind. — Indiana’s health commissioner has declared a public health emergency in southern Indiana’s Lawrence County that allows local officials to start a needle-exchange to curb the spread of hepatitis C and HIV.

The Indiana State Health Department says Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams declared the emergency Friday, making the county where Bedford is located the seventh in Indiana to win permission for a needle exchange following a southern Indiana HIV outbreak linked to intravenous drug use. The six others are Clark, Fayette, Madison, Monroe, Scott and Wayne counties.

The Lawrence County declaration follows a request for one by the county commissioners.

The declaration will run through Sept. 29, 2017.