Posted: Nov 1, 2012 5:15 PM by Olivia LaBorde
Updated: Nov 1, 2012 5:15 PM
BATON ROUGE- AIDS cases are on the rise nationwide, and Baton Rouge continues to rank number-one in the U. S. for cases per capita. Some are asking why more isn't being done on the governmental level to deal with the crisis.
A.J. Johnson, founder of the Baton Rouge AIDS Society, says the capital city needs to rally behind beating the disease with the same enthusiasm they use for natural disasters.
"When a hurricane is coming you'll see the governor on TV saying ‘This is our plan of action this is how much money we put aside for it. This is how we gonna take care of our people,'" Johnson said. "But when it comes to HIV/AIDS, we don't have a plan in place."
Last week the Louisiana Commission on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C met with Governor Bobby Jindal to discuss the capital city's AIDS crisis. However,it was the first such meeting in two years, and didn't happen until several months after the statistics were released.
Johnson says cities like New York and Miami are taking the issue more seriously.
"You have activists and stakeholders and communities there saying ‘We want to do something to prevent the spread,'" he said. "In the south we say ‘That doesn't have anything to do with me."
According to Johnson, turning the numbers around isn't hopeless. He says a focus on prevention and testing can get Baton Rouge out of a club nobody wants to be a member of.
"If you don't know your status, you're part of the problem," he said.