This week, health and community organizations around the state will join with the Louisiana Department of Health to shed light on the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Louisiana as part of NOLA HIV/AIDS Awareness Week and World AIDS Day. Events will be held from November 30 through December 1 throughout the state to make an effort to remove the stigma surrounding these diseases and to slow the epidemic in Louisiana by sharing education about resources for testing and treatment. 

Louisiana ranks third in the nation for the highest HIV case rates. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are two of the top three cities for new cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics. In 2017, there were 21,438 Louisianans living with HIV and over half have had a prior AIDS diagnosis.

“Circumstances such as incarceration, poverty and under-education prevent people from getting tested and, if need be, getting the care they need to live a quality, healthy life with HIV” said Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health. “Stopping the stigma about HIV is crucial for people to be open to getting tested and treated.”

Through work done by the Department, Louisiana has seen a decrease in HIV and AIDS rates and diagnoses. According to CDC data, Louisiana fell from third in HIV infection diagnosis rate in 2016 to fourth in 2017. Overall, there was a decrease of 120 cases from 2016 to 2017.

This is due in part to raising public and provider awareness to the deficiencies in screening and diagnosis rates. The Louisiana Health Hub has been redesigned into a central online location for education, locations for screening and treatment, and a directory of community partners.

As part of the state’s HIV/AIDS strategy, partners that screen and diagnose for HIV have been given additional support. The state is reducing the number of new infections by increasing awareness and accessibility of pre- and post-exposure treatments and supporting statewide condom availability.  

The New Orleans City Health Department and the New Orleans Police Department are also participating in the effort.

"Know your status. Get tested. Get into care. Everyone deserves to live a long and healthy life,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, director of the City of New Orleans Health Department.

Events will be held at the following dates, times and locations:

New Orleans

  • Wreath Laying Ceremony, Washington Square Park, 700 Elysian Fields Ave.
    • November 30 at 3 p.m.
    • Dr. Rebekah Gee, secretary, Louisiana Department of Health will be in attendance
  • Know Ya Stats Concert, New Orleans Jazz Market, 1436 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
    • December 1 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Art Against AIDS Holiday Gala, Club XLIV (Superdome)
    • December 1 from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
  • 25th Anniversary Gala, NOPSI Hotel, 317 Barrone St.
    • December 1 from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Baton Rouge

  • The Difference is US Community Luncheon, McKinley Alumni Center, 1520 Thomas H. Delpit Drive
    • December 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
  • BRAIDS Choice Awards, Council on Aging Activity Center, 6955 Florida Blvd.
    • December 1 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Southern University Basketball Game
    • December 1 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Lake Charles

  • Free HIV Testing, Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center, 196 Williamsburg St.
    • November 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Free HIV Testing, Southwest Louisiana AIDS Council, 425 Kingsley St.
    • November 30 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • December 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • HIV Awareness Event, Southwest Louisiana AIDS Council, 425 Kingsley St.
    • December 1 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The Story is Us World AIDS Day Musical Cantata, Warren United Methodist Church, 1800 Orchid St.
    • December 1 at 6 p.m.


  • Winter Fete, Downtown Alexandria
    • December 1 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.


  • Know Your Status World AIDS Day Event, Outdoor Amphitheater, Centenary College, 2911 Centenary Blvd.
    • December 1 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Benefit Drag Show, The Korner Lounge, 800 Louisiana Ave.
    • December 1 at 10 p.m. 

West Monroe

  • Candlelight Labyrinth, GO CARE, 1801 North 7th St.

December 1 at 6 p.m.