BACKGROUND - Because AIDS is increasing in rural areas and small cities of the United States, we sought to further describe the epidemiology of HIV/AIDS in nonurban Alabama.
METHODS - Extensive interviews of HIV-infected residents of Alabama living outside of urban Birmingham were conducted at clinics throughout the state.
RESULTS - Of the 417 HIV-infected persons interviewed from January 1995 through January 1997, 310 (74%) were male, 229 (55%) were white, and 179 (43%) were black. Over time, increasing proportions of HIV infections have likely been acquired in nonurban areas. Of the 417 subjects, 43 (10%) had visited an STD clinic in the past year, and 31 (7%) had smoked crack-cocaine during the past month. Of the 166 persons who had been sexually active in the past month, 59 (36%) had used alcohol before sex and 56 (34%) used condoms inconsistently. Of the 417 subjects, 161 (39%) currently had no health insurance, and 68 (16%) had lost medical insurance since becoming HIV-infected.
CONCLUSION - HIV-infected persons in nonurban Alabama are likely to have practiced high-risk behavior, to have acquired HIV in nonurban settings, and to have inadequate health insurance.