New research out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham has found an HIV prevention method for women is safe.  The early phase one trial tested out new intravaginal rings carrying two anti-HIV drugs.  Women who used the rings for a month found them acceptable and one of the drugs was detected later.  Unfortunately, the other wasn’t.  But Craig Hoesley, a doctor and professor of medicine who oversaw the trial, said the results were encouraging.  He says other HIV prevention methods like condoms are useful. 

Ryan Vasquez

A new report says Alabama's HIV and AIDS rate has dropped slightly, but its rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea have gone up.

The report from the Center for Demographic Research at Auburn University at Montgomery says there were 12.27 people per 100,000 diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 2012. That's down from 13.75 in 2011. A similar decline occurred with the diagnosis of syphilis, which went from 15.55 per 100,000 people in 2011 to 14.85 in 2012.

The HIV epidemic among African-Americans is getting deserved new attention at the 19th International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. And the news isn't all bad.

New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that black high school students are engaging in risky sexual behavior far less often than they were 20 years ago.

Since black teens are the future of the epidemic for the hardest-hit ethnic group, this is encouraging.

Here are the main results:

AIDS 2012

More than 25,000 people are gathering in Washington, D.C. this week for the 19thAnnual International AIDS Conference. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that the U.S. will host the conference.

“The reason that the U.S. could not have the conference is because we had a ban on allowing people who are HIV-positive into the United States,” says Kathie Hiers, CEO of AIDS Alabama. “And we were one of the few countries that had that ban.”

The Food and Drug Administration has given the first OK for a drug to prevent HIV infection.

The daily pill Truvada, made by Gilead Sciences, combines two medicines that inhibit the reproduction of HIV. It's been a mainstay in the treatment of HIV/AIDS for years, and as of today is an approved option for reducing the risk of HIV infection for people at high risk.