Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Push continues for HIV testing in Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE- Millicent Foster is all smiles as she tells a story that would bring most people to tears.

"I got to where I couldn't stand up on my feet. I started having this fluid draining from the pores of my skin and my scalp. I lost all of my hair," she recalls.

Nearly 13 years ago, the mother of three found out she was positive for HIV.

It's a harsh reality as the deadly virus continues to spread throughout Baton Rouge. Foster suspects the spread continues because many with the virus are still in denial.

"It could happen to anybody. You don't have to be a drug user, you don't have to be gay, you don't have to be promiscuous, because people don't tell," she says.

Testing advocate AJ Johnson says Baton Rouge isn't doing very much to stop the fact that the city ranks number one in the nation for AIDS numbers per capita and number two for HIV.

"Look at New York, look at California. Those states have programs and plans. A plan of action. Marketing media billboards everyday. You can't walk in the subway without seeing something about HIV or something about testing," says Johnson.

He says those constant reminders raise awareness, which lead to testing and and using protection.

"You need to know. Not just for yourself but for anybody else that you come in contact with intimately. You know. Everybody has a choice," says Foster.

The Baton Rouge AIDS Society will have free testing until midnight tonight as part of National Testing Day.


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