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CBS News issued a report over last weekend that says HIV is still prevalent in the South, although rates have declined in the U.S. overall. Jackson, Mississippi, is reportedly one of the cities with the highest rates of new cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the epicenter of the nation’s HIV crisis has shifted to the South. The region now has the highest rates of new infections nationwide. Of the nearly 40,000 cases diagnosed each year, more than 50 percent are in Southern states. At Open Arms, a LGBTQ health care center in Jackson, Deja Abdul-Haqq and her team have witnessed the alarming trend first hand. African-Americans are most severely affected. ”We have a high poverty rate. Our education systems are inadequate. Our health care systems are inadequate,” Abdul-Haqq told CBS News. Health officials say Southern states are behind in adopting new HIV prevention methods and people are not seeking out testing, care and prevention because of stigma. One of the biggest challenges in the Deep South is simply getting to a place that offers treatment. In many areas, the nearest clinic is easily dozens of miles away – and some patients have no way to get there. Open Arms’ top priority is giving patients access to the care they need, even taking them to their appointments. People on the frontlines say the rest of the nation needs to open its eyes … and that all starts with prevention. “We collectively have to figure out a way to get to zero here,” Abdul-Haqq explained. “If we can get to zero in Jackson, I believe the United States of America can say firmly that we have eradicated HIV in America.” She hopes with compassion and much more attention — they can get there.