Viewpoint: November 30, 2012

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, which started more than 20 years ago as a unified effort to raise awareness about the deadly disease. And, raising awareness about AIDS is especially important for Baton Rouge.

That's because we rank number one in the nation per capita for AIDS cases. It's hard to believe that per capita, Baton Rouge is higher than anywhere else in the country. The research shows 33 out of every 100,000 people in our area are newly diagnosed with AIDS.

Experts say the most important thing in preventing the spread of AIDS is to get tested. Visit and you can enter your zip code to receive a list of testing sites, including those that offer free tests.

Research and treatment are helping to keep HIV patients alive, but there is still no cure for the disease. The theme of World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero'  new infections, zero discrimination and zero aids-related deaths. Personal awareness can go a long way in the fight to achieve that goal.