Currently , the federal government is launching an initiative to end America’s HIV epidemic. However, in the rural American South, HIV is a deeply entrenched problem. Several factors contribute to its prevalence, including limited access to healthcare. Many Southern states, especially those who have not expanded Medicaid, have weak health insurance systems that fail to sufficiently provide the public with medication to prevent and treat HIV. Healthcare facilities are also difficult for many rural Americans to reach, as transportation may not be affordable. Furthermore, the conservative culture of the South contributes to the epidemic. Men who have sex with men (MSM) and intravenous drug users face stigma that robs them of support and discourages them from seeking medical attention. African Americans, the poor, and people with mental illness also face struggles that leave them vulnerable to HIV. Ultimately, to truly end HIV transmission, the federal government must commit more fully to the effort. Additionally, Southern states must expand Medicaid and work to promote acceptance of homosexuality within their communities.
Heaton, Helen, "HIV in the Rural American South" (2020). Undergraduate Research Awards. 3.