Gov. Jindal and Louisiana are causing me to pop my anxiety medication.
Let me begin by stating that I am always curious and concerned when our governmental representatives mention the words, "budget cuts". This anxiety is further enhanced when such representative follows with, "HIV", "at risk children", and "first time mothers".
In a day and age when health disparities are still present for every community, besides middle-aged heterosexual HIV- White males, we should not be looking for ways to increase such as a means for a state's financial gain. However, for Louisiana's Governor Bobby Jindal (R), this is perfectly fine, even if it means lack of development and growth for children.
In late January Gov. Jindal announced that massive budget cuts were on the horizon for Medicaid programs. Such programs are those that, "provide behavioral health services for at risk children, offer case management visits for low-income HIV patients and pay for at-home visits by nurses who teach poor, first-time mothers who to care for their newborns."
This makes me cringe and truly worry for the health of the children living in lower income areas of Louisiana. In my opinion, there is a commonality among these three groups, lack of resources. It is commonsense that without available resources at your disposal, particularly those centered around health and wellness, a holistic development of the mind and body is difficult. Without the presence of health workers early on, factual information and protective factors can not be installed among youth and their mothers. This lack of education and resources can certainly lead to potential exposure to HIV, STIs, drug use, and a variety of other challenges later in life.
I challenge any elected official on these facts and how they relate to their constituents
Here's a quick break down of Louisiana according to the 2010 HIV surveillance data from the CDC...
Louisiana is one of the states with the highest rate of HIV infection in the country with 34.5 per 100,000. Other states in the category of 23.4 to 50.4 per 100,000 are Texas (23.5), Mississippi (23.4), S. Carolina (24.0), New Jersey (30.2), Georgia (32.4), New York (32.3), and Florida (36.8). As you can see, Gov Jindal's state has the 2nd highest rate.
To take this further, those that are infected with HIV (aged 13-24) make up the third largest group in the state with 41.2 per 100,000.
In closing, Gov. Jindal, I suggest you take time to familiarize yourself with your state's statistical data and realize how removing access to needed services will only further complicate the health of your constituents, the holistic growth of our America's youth, and increase the current health disparities experienced by mothers in lower income areas and individuals living with HIV.