State officials are investigating a string of suspicious contracts that were awarded to the Georgia Department of Public Health’s HIV unit.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on its website Saturday that the internal investigation focuses on about $5 million in contracts issued to nonprofit firms that perform much of the HIV testing in Georgia.

State Health Officer Brenda Fitzgerald told the newspaper there appears to be a wide variation in the costs of the contracts. She said some of the contracts went to former state employees without competitive bids.

Department spokesman Ryan Deal said Friday that Fitzgerald is reviewing the report and may ask Attorney General Sam Olens to open a criminal investigation.