September 3, 2013
On August 31, community partners in Baton Rouge, La. sponsored the inaugural Youth Education AIDS/HIV Awareness Rally to provide HIV prevention education and free testing with counseling in Howell Park. The rally's theme was "know your status."
Event Planner Rogers Cooper stated that Affordable Pharmacy recognized an urgent need and organized the rally in response to increasing requests for help from HIV-infected teenagers. The Baton Rouge AIDS Society mobile health van and Metro Health provided free HIV testing and counseling during the event.
Baton Rouge AIDS Society Founder Rev. A.J. Johnson reported that Baton Rouge had the highest HIV incidence of any U.S. city and was similar to a person on the side of the road who needed assistance. Speaker Millicent Foster described her personal experience as an HIV-infected person and encouraged attendees not to "walk in her shoes." Baton Rouge AIDS Society Spokesperson Katya Ross stated that the society's mobile health van also regularly provided free HIV testing and counseling at area nightclubs and community events.
Rally co-sponsors included HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, Baton Rouge AIDS Society, Metro Health, Volunteers of American, Target, 100 Black Men, Subway, Chase Bank, and others. Other organizations that also presented information and services at the rally included Sexual Trauma Awareness Response, Southern University School of Nursing, Volunteers of America, HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, the Baton Rouge City Constable's Office, and Drug Abuse Resistance Education.