POSTED: Thursday, June 27, 2013 - 9:14pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 9:30pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Baton Rouge is number one for HIV and AIDS cases and has been for awhile. Hundreds of Southern University students lined up for HIV tests Thursday to learn their statuses. They did so because it is not just a test, it's a matter of life or death.
Milan Jackson educates students every day about why it's so important to protect themselves from HIV.
"It's important to me. I had a family member, personally, that died from not having his immune system was too low to actually fight off a common cold so he died," Jackson said.
Jackson said it's hard to see a loved one go through such pain, that's why she wants to make a difference.
"It hurts to find out that people are just doing things to get this disease, and it does. It does kill, and it really is to see someone go through it," Jackson said. "It's hard, but I know that by seeing him go through this process and pass away that I know that I was here to make a difference in someone's life to educate them and to help them."
Kai Burks got tested Thursday. She's HIV negative, and she wanted to know for sure.
"So I just wanted to be involved, and go and get myself tested. It's always good to know your status," Burks said."You never know. You can't just point a person out, and say 'that person has AIDS.' So you should always get tasted and always be aware of your surroundings."
"If we bring together the community, maybe as a community we can stop this from being such a huge discretion in the community," Jackson said.
Right now, in Baton Rouge, more than 5,000 people live with HIV.