Counties in the South with the highest HIV rates are among the poorest in the United States—about one in five people in the most HIV-affected counties in the South live below the federal poverty line, USA Today reports. New research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that high HIV rates are closely tied to poverty: families with household incomes less than $10,000 a year were 10 times more likely to have HIV than people whose household incomes are greater than $50,000. The South’s HIV epidemic disproportionately affects the region’s black population, which accounts for 37 percent of the population but 76 percent of new HIV cases. HIV prevention activists say that homophobia, stigma and misinformation about the virus keep people from being tested and fuel the spread of HIV in the South.

To read the USA Today article, click here.