One of the Least Talked About, Yet Biggest Health Concerns in Louisiana
It comes as no surprise that Louisiana ranks high on the nation’s list of unhealthiest and least affluent states in the U.S., which goes hand-in-hand with health problems. Obesity, diabetes, and many other diseases are prevalent in poorer states and LA unfortunately faces many of these issues on a daily basis.
But there is one seemingly “taboo” topic that should be addressed. Louisiana has one of the highest percentages of new AIDS/HIV diagnosis rates in the country. It is estimated that nearly 20 out of every 100,000 people are infected. Many are not diagnosed until the disease has progressed, giving the patients higher probability of having infected others.
The majority of new cases affect low income, ethnic minorities, with black and Hispanic people topping the list, but the numbers of Caucasian HIV patients is also alarmingly high. No one is excluded from getting this deadly virus if they choose not to take precautions. AIDS rates were also higher among drug users than non-drug users, although not always the case.
Louisiana is number five in the entire US for AIDS/HIV per capita. Not that it is any consolation, but most of the Southern states across the US also make the list of top 13 most AIDS/HIV cases in the country.
The most current source, the CDC or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the top ten states with people with stage 3 AIDS, which is the full blown disease, not just the HIV virus. The 2008-2011 last current tallies were as follows:
13 States with Most AIDS cases (people living with the disease):
- North Carolina 21,421 people
- Washington DC 21,431 people
- Louisiana 22,242 people
- Massachusetts 23,627 people
- Maryland 38,418 people
- Illinois 40,418 people
- Pennsylvania 40,554 people
- Georgia 42,068 people
- New Jersey 56,970 people
- Texas 86,106 people
- Florida 126,839 people
- California 168,692 people
- New York 205,198 people
One of the most disturbing aspects of these statistics is the alarmingly high rate of children who are part of these statistics. In 2011, there were 193 under the age of 13 who contracted the HIV virus and it was estimated at the end of 2010 that 2,936 children in the US were living with HIV.
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Fall brings the promise of cooler temperatures and reminds us flu season is just around the corner. Now is the perfect time to protect yourself and family, especially aging loved ones, from this potentially deadly ailment.
The Office of Public Health is holding a special, no cost to the patient vaccination day on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and CARE, Inc., encourages all employees, clients, and their families to take advantage.