“HIV/AIDS Dangers Loom Locally”
According to the state Department of Health and Hospitals, the Baton Rouge metro area ranked first in the nation in 2010 in the rate of AIDS cases per 100,000 population. Nearly 5,000 people are currently living with HIV/AIDS in metro Baton Rouge and many others are infected throughout our state. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) on its own it does not kill you. HIV grows, infects and destroys the immune system such that it cannot fight infections or cancer. If no treatment is given, it takes about 10 years from infection to the development of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Then “opportunistic infections” (ones a healthy immune system could fight off) become deadly. People then die from pneumonias, brain infections, and diarrheal illnesses, as well as certain tumors such as lymphoma and cervical cancer. Many countries are experiencing peak numbers being infected with the HIV virus. Thirty four million people worldwide are living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which has killed over 25 million since it was first described in the 1980’s.