POSTED: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 6:00pm
UPDATED: Sunday, December 1, 2013 - 8:47pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — People everywhere are celebrating and recognizing World Aids Day. In Baton Rouge, one local HIV and AIDS organization wants to spread the word and educate the community about the disease that's affecting our community.
As many of you may already know, Baton Rouge is number one when it comes to new AIDS cases in the country. That's why, on December 1st of every year, organizations like HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, or HAART for short, try to spread awareness in hope to save lives.
"It's very important for HAART, as an AIDS service organization, to have events like this and invite the community out to learn about HIV and AIDS," Lori Lauve, marketing director of HAART, said. "So they can better educate themselves and their families and their communities about how to prevent contracting this disease."
"HIV and AIDS is a community problem, and as most people know Baton Rouge has the highest AIDS case rates in the country," Tim Young, CEO of HAART explained."We're trying to bring awareness today to the miracles and advancements in medications that now someone infected with HIV can have a normal life expectancy and they can see their children and grandchildren grow up."
HAART hosted an awareness event called "The Red Ribbon Social." Young said this is an event that showcases art and music as forms of expression to get the word out.
"Everyone should get tested and know their HIV status, and if they are infected, we can provide effective treatment for them," Young said. "We can help them obtain insurance to ensure that they have access to care."
Schools, including Baton Rouge High, BRCC, and LSU even took part by having students create educational art and art that debunks some common misconceptions.
"I hope people stop thinking of HIV as a death sentence, and start thinking of it as something that is treatable and to eliminate the stigma and let people be aware," Quinton Rasberry, PR Manager of Avita Drugs Pharmacy. "People need to take the responsibility and get tested, know their status, know where they stand, and protect themselves."
This is World Aids Day's 25th anniversary. It's one of the most recognized health days around globe.