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New push for people to get tested for HIV

2 years ago November 20, 2012 Nov 20, 2012 Tuesday, November 20 2012 Tuesday, November 20, 2012 4:38:23 PM EST in Health
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE- Baton Rouge ranks first in the country for the number of AIDS cases per capita.

Out of every 100,000 people in the capital city, 33 have AIDS.

Patricia Ross, is taking action to make sure she does not become part of the statistic.

"I have been tested and I tested at a free clinic and I made it a part of my yearly exam," said Patricia Ross.

But she isn't the typical face you would see getting screened for HIV. She's in her 50s, and doesn't want to take any chances.

"I don't practice any risky behavior to put me in that area but I would still like to know I am healthy and if I decide to be intimate with someone that I am safe," said Ross.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends people ages 15 to 64 get tested for HIV at least once, and not just people considered at high risk for the virus. In Louisiana, people can be tested as early as 13 without parent consent.

"14 and 13 is not something that we've never heard of. It happens right here in our community," said A.J. Johnson, CEO of The Baton Rouge Aids Society.

He says the highest number of HIV cases are among 40-45 year olds, and it's often overlooked.

"People over 40 may think that over the years they've been through gonorrhea and syphilis, they don't need to get tested for HIV because this is not part of their generation," Johnson said. "Well just like the cell phone and computers is a part of their generation now, HIV is as well."

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