July 14, 2009
There were 839 reported cases of HIV/AIDS in Alabama in 2008, and of those 122 were reported in Montgomery County, which had the highest number in the state per capita, the Montgomery Advertiser reports. Black residents comprised 70 percent of all HIV/AIDS cases in Alabama reported that year. Poverty, lack of transportation to health services, not knowing a partner's status and not getting tested are cited as factors contributing to the greater risk for HIV among blacks in the state, according to the Advertiser. Jane Cheeks, director of HIV/AIDS programs for the Alabama Department of Public Health, said, "The more we test, the more we find," adding, "But we're hoping we can lower the infection rate." She also said, "In 2007, we got a pretty significant increase in funding and we were able to provide more services and give more testing." In addition to administering HIV tests, the "state educates the public through public service announcements and rolling billboards on the sides of 18-wheelers, which give people toll-free numbers to call" for information, the article states (Klass, 7/11).