A scary situation is developing among young people in southern Illinois.
Jackson County health officials report they are seeing an increase in cases of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
The health department says they see about 14-15 new HIV cases a year in an area from around Mt. Vernon to Cairo.
Twenty-one cases were reported in 2012 and 23 cases were reported in 2013.
In more than half the cases, patients are age 24 or younger, and nearly half have graduated from southern Illinois high schools.
Health officials really want to bring down those numbers.
They encourage you to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, use protection, and for parents to talk their kids about prevention.
There are a few upcoming events to raise awareness about HIV:
An Annual AIDS Walk will be on April 12 at 11 a.m. It will be held at the Newman Catholic Student Center in Carbondale.
The Annual AIDS Candlelight Vigil is on April 27 at 6:30 p.m. It will be held at the Church of the Good Shepard in Carbondale.