AHF Launches TV Ad Campaign Targeting Baton Rouge Mayor Sharon Weston Broome for Blocking HIV/AIDS Funding Despite City’s Exploding Epidemic

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

BATON ROUGE, LA (July 19, 2017) In continuing its advocacy against the decision by Mayor/President Sharon Weston Broome and Baton Rouge city officials to defund HIV/AIDS funds going towards prevention and care in Baton Rouge, AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) launched a television ad campaign today, bringing public awareness to the issue and the negative impact the Mayor’s decision will have on addressing the city’s increasing HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The television ad  directs constituents in Baton Rouge to the website hivcrisis.org, which gives a call to action to call the Mayor’s office to address community concern in regards to her decision.

The television campaign launched the next phase of the on-going advocacy that AHF has led in Baton Rouge to keep public awareness around the Mayor’s decision and the organizations on-going efforts to work with the Mayor and city –officials to resolve the defunding issue.

The television ad comes after a series of other advocacy efforts that AHF has led in the city-parish advocating against Mayor Sharon Weston Broome and the City of Baton Rouge for arbitrarily failing to renew a federally-funded contract for crucial local HIV/AIDS medical care and services in Baton Rouge with AHF, a respected HIV medical provider currently caring 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 television campaign follows local HIV/AIDS advocates staging peaceful protests and various outreach efforts to the city by several local residents impacted by the cuts, a federal lawsuit filed by AHF seeking court intervention to overturn the cuts, as well as numerous, unsuccessful attempts by AHF to meet with the Mayor to address the cuts.

“We are very disappointed that, following several attempts to meet with Mayor Broome, we have not been able to resolve this issue, said Michael Kahane, AHF Southern Bureau Chief.  “Given the direct negative impact that Mayor Broome’s decision is having on the local community, we decided to launch the television ad so the people of Baton Rouge would be kept aware of the Mayor’s decision and what they can do to make a difference.

The ad, which launched today, will run through August 1st and will air on WAFB and WBRZ, the local CBS and ABC affiliate stations in Baton Rouge.                       

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

In the most recent 2015 CDC HIV Surveillance Report (Vol. 27),

1.     Louisiana ranked 2nd in the nation for HIV case rates (24.2 per 100,000 population) and 11th in the number of reported HIV cases.

2.     The Baton Rouge MSA ranked 2nd in the nation and the New Orleans MSA ranked 3rd in the nation for HIV case rates (32.0 and 31.9 per 100,000, respectively), among the large metropolitan areas in the nation.

3.     Louisiana ranked 2nd highest in state AIDS case rates (11.2 per 100,000) and 11th in the number of AIDS cases in 2015.

4.     The Baton Rouge MSA ranked 2nd in AIDS case rates (16.0 per 100,000) and the New Orleans MSA ranked 4th in AIDS case rates (14.9 per 100,000) in 2015 among the large metro areas in the nation. 

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.