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World AIDS Day and NOLA Awareness Week remind us of the continuing battle to end HIV



World AIDS Day has been observed annually on December 1st since 1988. This is a time to honor, memorialize, and celebrate those who we have lost. It is also a time to create awareness and educate the community about the virus. As public health professionals, we know that stigma is a barrier for many of the health issues we work with and HIV is no exception. There are an estimated 1.2 million people living with the HIV infection in the United States and only about 955,000 of those have ever been diagnosed. In 2015, 52% of all of those diagnoses occurred in the South. Nationally, Louisiana ranked 2nd in HIV diagnosis rates, with Baton Rouge ranking 2nd and New Orleans ranking 3rd among the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. We have plenty of work to do in our great country and state.

The HIV/STI team at LPHI continues to march forward in our mission to end HIV infections in Louisiana. Along with many of the projects the team manages, we share our work with the community and participate in the New Orleans HIV/AIDS Awareness week that is occurring November 28 through December 3, 2016. This is the 3rd anniversary of the week, with LPHI continuing to be an active member of the planning body and events. Ranging from a prayer breakfast for area churches to a wreath laying ceremony, visibility of the community is of much importance. So as you walk around your city or town today, please thank and give a hug to those who work tirelessly to end this epidemic as HIV testers, counselors, advocates, and people living with HIV. They are all true warriors in the fight.

For more information about HIV and ways you can take a stand in your community, please check out LPHI's HIV/STI focus area and

For more information about World Aids Day 2016, click here.