The number of HIV cases in Lubbock County has tripled from last year.
The Health Department typically sees about ten new HIV cases a year. But with two and a half months left in 2009, we've already had 31 new cases reported.
Health officials believe part of the problem is reduced funding for STD educational programs.
More importantly, though, the spread of another potentially deadly disease, syphilis, may be causing the spike.
Jamie Parker of the Health Department says the rise in HIV cases was not unexpected.
"Syphilis has increased and continued to rise throughout the last ten years and so just naturally HIV is going to follow because of the fact that with syphilis you have open wounds, and any time there's an open wound that creates an area where the HIV enters the body," Parker said.
On Friday, folks with Project CHAMP will offer free HIV and syphilis testing for anyone in Lubbock over the age of 13. They're at 3307 Avenue X, and they'll be there from 11 AM to 5 PM.