Louisiana state laws and practices that prohibit access to sterile syringes and criminalize sex work contribute to an uncontrolled HIV epidemic and an extremely high AIDS death rate. The AIDS death rate in Louisiana is more than double the US average. New Orleans police regularly interfere with sex workers who carry condoms, putting them and their clients at risk of HIV.
“The HIV epidemic in New Orleans is one of the worst in the US, and proven strategies for addressing it are being ignored,” said Megan McLemore, senior health researcher at Human Rights Watch and the report’s author. “People who use drugs can’t get clean needles, and police are confiscating condoms from sex workers and those suspected of sex work, such as transgender women.”
Photo: An outreach team from Unity Of Greater New Orleans counsels a homeless man on housing options, January 2011.© 2011 AP Photo/Gerald Herbert
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Directed by Glenn Jordan. With James Garner, James Woods, Piper Laurie, Peter Michael Goetz. When his mother dies, Bob not only inherits her house, but also the custody of his younger brother, who suffers from schizophrenia and epilepsy. At the age of 21, Bob promised to look after his brother. Although he has barely seen him in the many years since then and strives against the commitment, he doesn’t dare to put him in a home either.
More than 400,000 people have been displaced in CAR since Seleka rebels - many who are Muslims from neighboring countries Chad and Sudan - seized political power in March 2013, ousting then-president Francois Bozize. Shortly after the transition, the majority Christian population was subject to increasing incidents of rapes, murders and looting. Michel Djotodia, rebel leader turned interim president, has largely lost control of his gunmen. Christians fled reprisals following a failed offensive on Bangui the first week of December. A French initiative to disarm all fighters on both sides has weakened Seleka’s influence in the capital, leading to counter-attacks by Christian militias.
President Francois Hollande visited CAR on his return trip to France from the funeral of Nelson Mandela in South Africa on Monday after two French soldiers were killed in fighting and shortly after France sent a 1,600-strong force into its former colony to neutralize the chaos and end the deadly fighting.Residents of PK5, a largely Muslim neighborhood, congregate near a mosque where bodies of people killed during fighting are gathered in Bangui on December 5, 2013. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun
In the Fouh neighborhood on Tuesday, a Reuters correspondent saw civilians armed with wooden clubs and machetes attack a mosque and houses, and at least six people were lynched overnight mainly during violence targeting Muslims, according to residents. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the current French troop levels were sufficient to stabilize the country. CAR is roughly the size of France. The U.S. said it will fly African forces into the country: two U.S. military C-17 aircraft will fly 850 troops from Burundi, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Firman, a Pentagon spokesman, said. It was unclear what U.S. support might follow, but Firman said consultations were ongoing. The forces will help bolster the contingent from the African Union, due to be increased to 6,000 from about 3,500.
UN Refugee Agency reported that by Monday night, an estimated 108,000 people in Bangui have left their homes and staying in 30 locations across the capital, mainly in churches, mosques, public buildings and the airport. In addition, an unknown number of people have also moved to Kilometre 5, a mostly Muslim neighborhood in the northwest of Bangui, to stay with relatives or friends. In the capital Bangui, religious leaders met to distribute food to the more than 10,000 displaced people huddled at a gathering at a community center for protection. They urged an end to the violence.
David Rhode, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Reuters columnist writes: Wealthy nations are funding a poorly-equipped regional peacekeeping force instead of authorizing more costly United Nations troops, and it is unclear whether the approach will work.
Top Photo: A Christian youth inside a burned-out car in Bangui on December 10, 2013. REUTERS/Emmanuel Braun