MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama is one of seven states with high rural HIV numbers.
“We have just over 15,000 reported cases of HIV. It’s estimated that 1 in every 6-and-a-half people that are HIV-positive are not aware of their status,” said AIDS Drug Assistance Program Director Allison Hatchett.
Between 650-700 Alabamians are diagnosed with HIV every year. Jefferson County has the highest number of people diagnosed with HIV while Montgomery County is being diagnosed at the highest rate. Officials say that men who have sex with other men are at the highest risk.
“That is the highest risk group in our state and across the country,” said Alabama Department of Public Health HIV Prevention and Care Director Sharon Jordan.
Officials say that often times people are afraid to know their status, but they say the best thing to do is get tested and if those results are positive then there are treatment options.
“Many individuals who are HIV-positive can have have one pill a day that can effectively treat them and help them achieve viral suppression,” said Hatchett.
“This is a chronic disease. People are living longer. They are not dying like they used to in the early days. So, it’s manageable just like diabetes or any other condition. So, we want people to know their status so that we can get them under care of they are positive,” said Jordan.
The number of diagnoses in the state has remained steady over the past several years.