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Selma AIR Helps to Lower HIV Rate Across Rural Alabama

Researchers and founders of AIDSVu say that Selma AIR has helped lowered the HIV transmission rate in Alabama’s most impoverished, rural counties.

AIDSVu visited the site last month and noticed the impact prevention and care services Selma Air had on the eight-county region which includes Dallas County. New HIV diagnoses have decreased by nearly 60 percent in Dallas and Wilcox counties and by over 40 percent in other Black Belt counties serviced by Selma AIR.

“Despite current CDC trends across the country showing higher HIV diagnoses in the Southeast, West-Central Alabama is beating the odds when it comes to HIV, largely due to the hard work of our team at Selma AIR,” said Executive Director Mel Prince.

Selma AIR is the state’s only African-American led non-profit classified as an AIDS service organization (ASO). They were founded in 1995 Community volunteers, including representatives from the Edmundite Mission to help provide care to persons living with HIV in rural Alabama.

“I am excited to lead a team of HIV educators who are working hard every single day to provide the best in comprehensive prevention education and intervention strategies,” HIV Prevention Education Specialist Lydia Chatmon said. “We place no limits on who we can offer HIV prevention resources to and partner with anyone truly interested in helping to prevent the spread of HIV.”

Selma AIR will partner with the Council on Substance Abuse (COSA) to produce a free HIV testing event in Selma on Sept. 27 from 4-7 p.m. at Creative Hair Design. The testing is a part of the “Cut It Out” campaign. COSA’s Teen Direct program, a grant-funded initiative, is providing free HIV testing for youth ages 13 to 17 in Montgomery, Lowndes and Dallas counties.