Martin County is ranked 13th in the state for residents infected with the disease. County health officials say they're currently assisting 56 patients with HIV/AIDS and report nine new cases of HIV this year alone. One of the reasons the county faces such a high number is economics and location, the county is rural and mostly poor. Health Education Director Billie Patrick says it's often difficult for people in remote areas of the county to get to a doctor's office. Something else she says is difficult is finding money to use to educate the public. Patrick says health officials are currently in the process of seeking additional funding from county commissioners and through grants.
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