March 28, 2012
Baton Rouge is among the stops on AIDS Healthcare Foundation's "Condom Nation Tour" of 25 states hard-hit by the disease. On Wednesday, an 18-wheeler stocked with condoms and HIV testing kits will roll up to Southern University for the Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Summit.
The visit to Baton Rouge is being sponsored by Aspirations, a local nonprofit that works with youth. The goal of Wednesday's event is to raise awareness of risky behaviors and the importance of getting tested for HIV, said Joyce Turner Keller, a minister and a grandmother who founded Aspirations following her AIDS diagnosis at age 52. Keller said she waited six years to get tested after being raped; she hopes young women will learn from her experience.
Metro council member Ronnie Edwards will give a talk at the summit and appear with the 18-wheeler at other locations in Baton Rouge. "It's a sensitive issue, but Baton Rouge has been in the top three areas for AIDS cases for years now, and there must not be enough of an effort to diminish this disease," she said. "At this point, I feel like we need to intervene by any means necessary."
For more information on the tour's local stops, telephone Keller at 225-288-8161.