This is one of several emerging trends that reflect a decline of the overall health of those living in rural portions of the deep South:
"Rising infection rates, coupled with inadequate funding, resources and infrastructure have resulted in a catastrophic situation in our public health care systems in the South," the report says.
Kathy Hiers, chief executive officer of AIDS Alabama and co-author of the report, told The Birmingham News that HIV/AIDS is taking hold in isolated parts of the South.
"The ruralness of the epidemic is what's becoming painfully clear," Hiers told the paper.
The report says the number of deaths from AIDS dropped in the rest of the nation between 2001 and 2005 but continued to increase in the South.
Health authorities have known for years that the 16-state Southern region was leading the country in the number of new infections. But, Hiers said, they thought the increase was concentrated in big cities in Florida, not spread across the region.
Experts have now focused in on the Deep South - Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina and South Carolina. They have found HIV infections rising in rural areas populated by blacks with financial, health and social problems.
Gary A. Puckrein is the president and CEO of National Minority Quality Forum in Washington. He said the shift in HIV infections has to be highlighted.
"Certainly one of the big misconceptions is it is big cities on the West Coast and East Coast that are really driving the disease, and it's not so," Puckrein said. "It's moved both in terms of geography and demography. It's really important for people in Southern states to know that because they're not getting their fair share of support."
This image is from the much reported story earlier in the year on declining life expectancy in the South, especially among women: