Baton Rouge, La.’s High AIDS Rate Examined
The Baton Rouge Advocate on Sunday examined reasons behind Baton Rouge, La.'s high AIDS rate. The most recent data from CDC ranks the Baton Rouge metro area third nationally for AIDS cases for 2007, with 31.4 cases per 100,000 people, according to the article. "State health officials, medical professionals and people who work in HIV/AIDS prevention say there are a variety of reasons the Baton Rouge metro area ranks near the top," including delayed testing, denial of high-risk behavior among individuals and medical advances that are allowing people to live longer with the virus, the Advocate reports. Beth Scalco, the Louisiana director of the HIV/AIDS Program for the state Office of Public Health, said the city's close proximity to four prisons also contributes to the high rates. Arnold "A.J." Johnson, founder of the Baton Rouge AIDS Society, said the government does not adequately fund HIV/AIDS education in the area. He added, "Part of the problem is the culture and atmosphere. The government needs to come here and attack this area like they did when Hurricane Katrina hit" (Ward, 7/26).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.