Baton Rouge AIDS Cases Increasing at ‘Alarming Rate’; Gov. Foster Declares Awareness Week
As Baton Rouge now ranks 16th among U.S. metropolitan areas for new AIDS cases, Louisiana Gov. Mike Foster (R) declared this week "Know AIDS Mobilization" week, with forums and informational fairs at Southern University, Louisiana State University and Baton Rouge Community College designed to raise HIV/AIDS awareness, the Associated Press reports. The Baton Rouge area had the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the state, with 50 cases per 100,000, compared to the state average of 26 per 100,000, state Office of Public Health epidemiologist Jennifer Chase said. Nearly 4,000 Baton Rouge residents have HIV or AIDS, and the region is one of seven metropolitan areas nationwide to have between 1,000 and 2,000 new AIDS cases diagnosed in the past five years. OPH Assistant Secretary Madeline McAndrew said East Baton Rouge Parish has received a federal grant to determine why the disease incidence in the area is worse than in much larger cities, but Southern University Chancellor Edward Jackson attributed the high rate to "poverty and ignorance" about the disease (Associated Press, 10/22).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.