The director of the Centers for Disease Control says he's impressed by a Montgomery-based HIV/AIDS clinic and its commitment to providing health services to rural communities.
Director Robert Redfield toured the Medical Advocacy & Outreach clinic Friday as part of a visit to Alabama to discuss strategies to end the HIV epidemic in the state.
The federal government is targeting Alabama and six other states as part of an initiative to reduce new HIV infections by 75 percent in five years and at least 90 percent in 10 years.
President Donald Trump first announced the initiative in his State of the Union speech in February.
Southern states accounted for more than half of the nearly 40,000 new HIV diagnoses in 2017.
The CDC awarded more than $25 million in HIV funding to Georgia in 2018, second only to Florida, with $43 million.
Southern states account for 38% of the U.S. population but bear the highest burden of HIV infection.
The agency estimates some 82,000 people in the South have HIV and do not know they are infected. 24% of new HIV diagnoses in the South are in suburban and rural areas-more than any other region. The CDC says this poses unique challenges.