Louisiana Effort to Prevent HIV Could Get Extra Push From Trump Administration

Feb 12, 2019

In his State of the Union address last week, President Trump announced a plan to eliminate the spread of new HIV cases in the U.S. by 2030.  The initiative could propel efforts already underway in Louisiana to prevent and treat the virus.

"My budget will ask Democrats and Republicans to make the needed commitment to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within ten years," said the President as he addressed members of Congress.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human services has released details on how they intend to do that. The plan will target 48 of the country’s hardest-hit areas—places that are seeing the majority of new HIV diagnoses. East Baton Rouge and Orleans parishes are on the list, which could mean an influx of federal funding and resources for Louisiana.

According to the state Department of Health, Louisiana ranked 10th in the nation in 2017 for the number of HIV cases. Baton Rouge and New Orleans both have some of the highest cases of HIV in the country.

Despite this initiative - which would have to be approved and funded by Congress - some say the administration’s health care policies are actually at odds with this goal.  The administration has struck portions of the Affordable Care Act and called for cuts to HIV research in the past.  

On this week's Capitol Access, Dr. Alex Billioux, Assistant Secretary of Louisiana’s Office of Public Health, discusses the reasons behind the high number of HIV cases in Louisiana and what this new initiative could potentially mean for the state.