Syphilis rates are going down in Mississippi, while they continue to rise in the rest of the country. The ironic thing is that nine years ago Mississippi led the nation in this area.
Cases of HIV, the virus that can lead to AIDS, have also decreased. Compared to 1995 when there were more than 700 cases in Mississippi, last year 580 cases were recorded in the Magnolia State.
As for Alabama, figures from 2002 show the number of HIV cases up by about 20 compared to two prior years.
"When it comes to HIV, don't think that it's not also a problem here in east Mississippi and west Alabama," said Joyce Weir, a nurse for the Mississippi Department of Health.
In fact, officials at one Meridian clinic estimate that it treats about a dozen HIV positive patients each week. Health care officials say education is the key.
A few facts about AIDS and HIV
How is HIV and AIDS transmitted
Early symptoms of HIV infection
What is AIDS?
Source: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/factsheets/hivinf.htm (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Fact Sheet)