April 5, 2016
Get the Greed Out of HIV!
People Living with HIV in Baton Rouge at Risk of Losing Care & Services

A recent lawsuit has halted the distribution of federal Ryan White Care Act funds that provide services to people living with HIV in the Baton Rouge area. No state funds are available for HIV services, which make these federal funds vital to the lives of people living with HIV. Further delaying these funds from being distributed could mean that people living with HIV, especially those with limited resources could face missed medication doses, missed medical appointments, and lack of access to medical providers. All of these can be potentially life threatening to individuals living with HIV.

The funding was scheduled to go into effect March 1, 2016. The situation stems from one
agency that is unhappy with the services they were funded to provide and the amount of funds awarded to them. While LAAN fully supports a fair and open application process, we are concerned about this effort to challenge the process because of the potential harm it will cause people living with HIV. LAAN asks those involved to put their greed for dollars aside. We encourage those involved to pursue avenues that do not put the lives of the very people the funds are meant to help, at risk of life threatening situations.

As of December 2015, in the Baton Rouge service area, 5,210 persons are currently living with HIV infection (2,450 persons living with HIV & 2,760 persons living with AIDS). In 2014, the Baton Rouge area ranked 1st up from 4th place in 2013 for estimated HIV case rates and 1st up from 3rd the year before in estimated AIDS case rates among the large metropolitan areas in the nation. In addition, Baton Rouge has some of the lowest survival rates in the country. African Americans account for 82% of the people living with HIV/AIDS in the Baton Rouge area. These numbers illustrate the great need for services to be available to all persons living with HIV in the Baton Rouge area. Many of those infected already face barriers to accessing services due to stigma and marginalization and do not need other artificially created barriers. The Baton Rouge Ryan White Care Act Program is designed to assist low income/under insured people living with HIV/AIDS with primary medical care, HIV related medications, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, medical transportation, oral health and case management services in a nine parish area: Ascension Parish, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana Parish, Iberville Parish, Livingston Parish, Pointe Coupee Parish, St. Helena Parish, West Baton Rouge Parish and West Feliciana Parish. The delay in approving contracts with the agencies slated to receive funds will affect services provided through Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two, Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge, No/AIDS Task Force, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and Capitol City Family Health Center.

We are asking everyone to call or write Mayor Kip Holden and members of the Metro Council and tell them you are concerned about the impact delaying HIV funding will have on those living with HIV and to please help Get Greed Out of HIV.
Mayor Kip Holden mayor@brgov.com (225) 389-3100
Metro Council Members
District 01 – Trae Welch council-dist1@brgov.com 225.389.5170
District 02 – Chauna Banks-Daniel council-dist2@brgov.com (225) 389-4699
District 03 – Chandler Loupe (council-dist3@brgov.com 225) 389-5162
District 04 – Scott Wilson council-dist4@brgov.com (225) 389-5166
District 05 – Erika L. Green council-dist5@brgov.com (225) 389-5171
District 06 – Donna Collins-Lewis council-dist6@brgov.com (225) 389-5165
District 07 – LaMont Cole council-dist7@brgov.com (225) 389-469
District 08 – Buddy Amoroso council-dist8@brgov.com (225) 389-5168
District 09 – Joel Boé council-dist9@brgov.com (225) 389-4688
District 10 – Tara Wicker council-dist10@brgov.com (225) 389-5140
District 11 – Ryan Heck council-dist11@brgov.com (225) 389-5169
District 12 – John Delgado council-dist12@brgov.com (225) 389-4697