The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
Kai Chandler Lois Crenshaw Gary Paul Wright Fortunata Kasege Keith Green Lois Bates Greg Braxton Vanessa Austin Bernard Jackson

U.S. News

Louisiana: Struggling With HIV Stigma

May 23, 2012

Around 150 people gathered Sunday near the state Capitol in Baton Rouge to mark International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day.

The city has some 5,000 residents living with HIV/AIDS, of whom 76 percent are black, said Jack Carrel, administrator for the Baton Rouge Ryan White Program. Ninety-one percent of new diagnoses are black. "The disparity here in Baton Rouge is really something," he said.

Twanda Lewis, who was among those in attendance, said HIV/AIDS stigma is a particular problem for Baton Rouge's African Americans. "We struggle in this community with stigma. It's a big issue," she said.

Education and prevention are key to reducing the stigma and impact of AIDS, according to Cassandra Whitty. She has been living with HIV since 2000 and chairs the board of the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two Inc. (HAART). "I feel great, I feel happy. But there are a lot of people who live in silence," she said.

Another concern is that more young people and women are becoming infected, said Tim Young, executive director of HAART, which sponsored the event. "They think they're invincible, like ‘this can't happen to me,'" he said. "But with such high rates in the city, if they're having unprotected sex, they're greatly increasing their chance of contracting the virus."

HAART offers free HIV testing, as well as free treatment and services for those who are positive. The Baton Rouge AIDS Society also provides free testing.

Back to other news for May 2012

Adapted from:
The Advocate (Baton Rouge)
05.21.2012;Naomi Martin

More From This Resource Center

Magic Johnson Wants You to Know: He Isn't Cured of HIV

Living With HIV? African Americans Share Their Advice

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.

See Also
HIV/AIDS in the South

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:


The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.