MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) — The explosive HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980’s may be over, but new cases are still emerging. Latest statistics from the Alabama Department of Health show that Mobile County leads the state when it comes to new HIV infections.
“It’s one of those taboo subjects that people don’t like to talk about because sex is involved,” said Lanita Kharel, executive director of AIDS Alabama South.
AIDS Alabama South serves the entire south Alabama region approximately 12 different counties. The agency recently moved from its previous location on Dauphin Street to a new building on Downtowner Loop with plans to expand. Right now, they offer free testing, education, therapy, and more. Kharel said teens and young adults make up majority of the new infections in Mobile County. She said they try to reach out to the youth, but it’s also up to parents to do their part.
“We know that abstinence is not workingwe’ve been trying that for many years, and the numbers just continue to rise,” she said
Lack of education and funding have hindered some efforts to fight the rise in infections. But, with AIDS Alabama South expanding, there is hope. From here, Kharel will continue to talk to children and advocate for sex education in the classrooms. She said talking to teens can help save lives.
“One of the things that we advocate for very strongly.is for comprehensive sex education programs at public schools. It does not exist in the state of Alabama,” she said.
AIDS Alabama South offers free HIV testing at their new location at 4321 Downtowner Loop in Mobile.