When Pamela Payne Foster, Associate Professor in the College of Community Health Sciences’s Department of Community and Rural Medicine and Deputy Director of the College’s Institute for Rural Health Research, came to Alabama in 2004, she started an HIV/AIDS tour through the Black Belt to raise awareness and increase testing.
“We did town hall meetings and we wanted people to come out and get tested,” she said. “No one showed up.”
Foster studies the spread of HIV in the South. She said that when she interviews people living with HIV in rural Alabama, they regularly list church as the place they feel most stigmatized.