Federal funding to combat HIV/AIDS in the United States has largely ignored the South, according to a report from the Southern AIDS Coalition. HIV support, prevention and treatment programs in the region are struggling to stay afloat, Alabama newspaper The Birmingham News reports (al.com, 7/20).

“Unless we act to correct funding and treatment disparities, we endanger not just isolated communities, but our states and our nation,” the report says.

More than 190,000 people in the South died of AIDS-related illness between 2001 and 2005, a period when AIDS deaths had decreased in the rest of the country.

The report also indicates that HIV/AIDS has moved into more rural parts of the South with large disadvantaged black populations.

Researchers attribute the disparity to an HIV/AIDS funding structure that allocates resources to regions based on their overall AIDS cases as opposed to new HIV infections. This approach skews funding to metropolitan areas where the epidemic was first reported.