AIDS Activists Protest Funding Cuts in Baton Rouge, LA

Despite Highest HIV & AIDS Rates in the Nation, Mayor’s Office defunds respected HIV medical provider caring for over 30% of Baton Rouge’s HIV/AIDS patients. 

AIDS activists & patients to protest Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and the City of Baton Rouge for failing to renew AHF’s Ryan White Contract.

Protest follows federal lawsuit filed Monday by AHF seeking to overturn the cuts; failure to renew AHF’s Contract also made AHF ineligible to participate locally in the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program.

BATON ROUGE, LA (April 13, 2017) A group AIDS activists, patients, students and medical care providers held a peaceful protest and demonstration in front of Baton Rouge City Hall (222 St. Louis Street) today to protest recent AIDS funding cuts by the Mayor’s Office and the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge. 

AIDS advocates called for Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and the City of Baton Rouge to restore funding for a federally-funded contract for crucial local HIV/AIDS medical care and services in Baton Rouge. AHF, a respected HIV medical provider currently cares for over 30% of Baton Rouge’s HIV/AIDS patients.

On March 2, 2017 Baton Rouge City officials notified AHF that it would not renew its Ryan White contract for the 2017 – 2018 grant year, an action that also made AHF ineligible to participate locally in the federal 340B Drug Pricing Program, a crucial federal, but locally-administered drug discount program in Baton Rouge. 

The protest comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed by AHF seeking court intervention to overturn the cuts. In its lawsuit, filed Monday, April 10, 2017 in the United States District Court, Middle District of Louisiana,   (Case # 17 cv00229 BAJ-RLB), AHF is seeking Declaratory and Injunctive Relief against the City of Baton Rouge/Parish of East Baton Rouge through the City of Baton Rouge Division of Human Development and Services through restoration of the contract and AHF’s 340B eligibility. AHF’s lawsuit focuses specifically on the Parish of East Baton Rouge’s arbitrary, capricious—and AHF asserts, illegal—denial of renewal of the contract.

First in the Nation: Background on HIV/AIDS in Baton Rouge, the Ryan White Program

According to the Advocate newspaper, “Baton Rouge is ranked first in the nation for estimated HIV and AIDS case rates per 100,000 people, while New Orleans is ranked third for HIV and fourth for AIDS, according to newly released 2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures.”

In Baton Rouge, AHF operates the following two AHF Healthcare Center locations: 

1) Baton Rouge Healthcare Center, 8281 Goodwood Boulevard, Suite D, Baton Rouge, LA  70808; and 2) Baton Rouge Azmeh Clinic and Pharmacy, 4890 Bluebonnet Boulevard, Baton Rouge, LA  70809.

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AHF Baton Rouge Protest