The Advocate (Baton Rouge) (11.28.12)
Health officials from the Louisiana State University (LSU) Mid City Clinic will hold a health fair Friday, November 30, one day prior to World AIDS Day on December 1, in hopes that this awareness event will help people know their status by getting tested. AIDS is a huge problem in the Baton Rouge area, as the city’s metro area ranked first in the nation in 2010 in the rate of AIDS cases per 100,000 of population. There were 1,300 new HIV cases and 795 new AIDS cases diagnosed in Louisiana in 2011, according to the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) data. According to the same DHH data, there were 319 new HIV cases (or 25 percent) and 227 new AIDS cases (or 29 percent), diagnosed in Louisiana that were from the Baton Rouge metro area. On the whole, there are 4,888 people currently living with HIV/AIDS in metro Baton Rouge, DHH says.
The November 30 health fair—which runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.—features more than 30 health-care providers, community and government agencies, and local businesses. The fair will provide free HIV testing as well as free syphilis, glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol testing. The event will include a raffle for a 40-inch high-definition television set, as well as gift card raffles. The theme for the health fair is “Zero Takes a Community,” which signifies zero discrimination for people with HIV/AIDS, zero new HIV infections, and zero AIDS-related deaths. Fair officials will dedicate a live oak tree near the clinic in recognition of World AIDS Day, during a ceremony at 10 a.m. on November 30. Dr. Tatiana Saavedra, one of five LSU Mid City Clinic physicians who work at LSU’s Early Intervention Clinic, explains that the oak tree is symbolic, and declared “The tree, which is beautiful, is strong and firm and represents LSU’s years-long fight to prevent HIV/AIDS.”