Through the Alabama eHealth Initiative, doctors will be able to treat more patients who live in rural areas using high-resolution web cameras. State officials say this will help more patients control the disease.
For Medical AIDS Outreach of Alabama, there's a lot to celebrate. More than 100 patients fighting HIV in the Selma area will have access to medical care.
"We had a once weekly rural clinic where we would pack the doctors up in the van and drive down and see the patients there," says Will Rutland with M.A.O. "That only allowed us six hours on the ground in Selma."
Now, through the Alabama eHealth Initiative, doctors can meet with patients three days a week using high-resolution web cameras. Patients in Selma can walk into a local physician's office, and instantly connect to HIV medical specialists in Montgomery.
"The doctors don't have to travel here," says Janice Robbins, the director of Department of Health in Selma. "The doctors can do everything from the medicine program. This is a great access to the program."
Governor Robert Bentley helped kick off the new program today, by showing how easily and efficiently the equipment works using Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange as his patient. He says telemedicine is moving the state of Alabama closer to conquering the deadly disease.
"If someone had HIV in the 1980s that was a death sentence, but today with our anti-viral drugs that we have available, and through clinics like this, it's not a death sentence," says Bentley. "It's a survivable disease."
This initiative will be used in three clinics: Montgomery, Huntsville and Tuscaloosa.
The Alabama eHealth Initiative officials say they were given $300,000 in grant money from state and federal government, with the expectation they match it.