BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The number of HIV cases in Alabama are on the rise, especially in the Birmingham metro.
New numbers from the CDC rank Jefferson County as the 12th highest in the nation when it comes to new infection cases for 2016.
"We are now ahead of L.A. and many larger cities," says Kyle Pugh, the executive director of the Magic City Wellness Center. "They're alarming especially with all the resources available out there."
He points to programs offered by his center, Birmingham AIDS outreach, UAB and others as proof.
As for why the numbers are so high, Pugh says it's due to a combination of things. One of the biggest, he says, is a lack of sex education in schools. But his organization is trying to change that.
"We have programs that are going into the school and doing testing and to try to talk to them about things their teachers aren't talking about," Pugh said.
He also believes the community may not be taking advantage of the resources out there due the stigma HIV can carry.
"You have to address issues in order to address issues. So, definitely being open to ask questions to make sure you get the right answers to prevent new HIV infections." Pugh said.