World Aids Day, advocates encourage testing and prevention methods

Louisiana HIV advocates are encouraging people to spread awareness and not the virus.
Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 6:57 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Louisiana HIV advocates are encouraging people to spread awareness and not the virus.

“We have to let our communities know that this is real. It hasn’t gone away,” said AJ Johnson, Founder of The Baton Rouge AIDS Society.

HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system. If left untreated for too long, it could advance to aids the very last stage of HIV.

“Some people still think it’s death-threatening but it’s not. You can still live a normal and happy life even though you still have it,” said Terrance Alexander, Director of Community Health Outreach Programs of Baton Rouge AIDS Society.

The most common preventative medications are prep and pep.

Prep is a pill that a person can take every day if they are at high risk. A person exposed to HIV can take within 72 hours, reducing the risk of diagnosis.

“Before there was so much medication that you had to take all day long, every day. 55 pills a day if you were HIV infected, but now there are medications and treatments that you can take 1 pill a day, 2 pills a day,” said Johnson.

Workers at the Baton Rouge AIDS Society are urging people to take advantage of free testing so that HIV can one day be gone, and Baton Rouge will be lower on the list of new cases.

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