HIV rates still high, but Louisiana ranks 24th in use of disease-preventing medication_lowres


Whenever a president delivers a State of the Union address, there are always some topics of particular local interest mixed in with all the national issues. And sure enough, President Donald Trump reportedly plans to make a big splash at Tuesday night’s address to Congress by declaring a goal of stopping the spread of HIV in the United States by 2030.

Yes, that’s a national issue, but it’s also one that should get Louisiana’s attention. A shocking 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control listed Baton Rouge as the city with the highest infection rate, with New Orleans coming in third behind Miami. More recently, Louisiana ranked third highest in the agency’s 2017 breakdown of diagnosis rates in different states, behind Georgia and Florida. The same report showed the South with more new diagnoses than any other region.

HIV rates still high, but Louisiana ranks 24th in use of disease-preventing medication

Despite innovations in treatment, HIV rates still high, including in Baton Rouge and New Orleans

A lot would have to go into the sort of campaign Trump is expected to propose, some of which doesn’t exactly jibe with his actions to date. Among the necessary steps, according to a Vox analysis, would be expanding Medicaid access, increasing investment in public health departments and building trust with at-risk communities, including members of racial minority groups and LGBTQ people. But experts also seem to believe that the goal is achievable, if the federal government makes all the right moves.

So Tuesday’s a good time to listen to what the president says about this. Wednesday, and every day after that, is the time to watch what he does.

Follow Stephanie Grace on Twitter, @stephgracela.