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Grants to Increase Services
The Louisiana Community AIDS Partnership (LCAP) is providing grant funds to three organizations in the New Orleans area to improve the health and quality of life of people infected with HIV/AIDS or affected by the disease. Louisiana Public Health Initiative fostered the newly founded partnership, which is a collaboration of local organizations and the National AIDS Fund.

Grants to Children's Hospital's Family Advocacy, Care and Education Services, the NO/AIDS Task Force and Project Lazarus account for $65,500 of the $95,500 the LCAP will hand out to assist those who are under duress because of HIV/AIDS.

"Unfortunately, nearly 60 percent of persons living with HIV/AIDS in Louisiana are struggling with unmet needs, including primary health-care services, and while new HIV and AIDS diagnoses have been declining slightly, HIV/AIDS deaths are on the rise due to a lack of support and services," LCAP program manager Susan Bergeron says.

AIDS deaths decreased in all other regions in the United States from 2001-2005, but the mortality rate in the South for same time period increased by 10.3 percent.

Life-saving Early Detection
It's not something most men like to talk about, but if you're 50 or older, then an annual prostate cancer screening should be in your future. Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in males, and the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates there will be 186,320 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed this year.

There is good news. Prostate cancer is very treatable. ACS reports that although one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, only one in 35 will die from it. Early detection is critical, and now there is a blood test available that detects the PSA antigen, which increases as prostate cancer develops. Touro Infirmary (1401 Foucher St.) is offering free prostate cancer blood tests from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on May 6, 7 and 28. Registration is required; call 897-8500.

A Bonding Place
East Jefferson General Hospital (4200 Houma Blvd., Metairie, 454-5655) has added a First Night Room, a space designed for parents and children in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Because NICU babies are sequestered following birth so the medical staff can properly care for them, parents often don't have a chance to bond with the infant before they take the baby home.

Not only does the room allow parents and their baby to become more familiar with each other, it also gives parents an opportunity to learn how to operate any special machinery or administer medications that the newborn might require, all with medical staff nearby to assist.

Help Is Nearby
St. Charles Parish Hospital (1057 Paul Maillard Road, Luling, 985-785-6242) has added 20 inpatient psychiatric beds as part of its new patient-care center, which will alleviate the drastic shortage of inpatient mental health care available in the New Orleans area.

Each patient in the hospital's psychiatric unit will have a bed in a private room and access to individual and group therapy, medication management, recreational therapy, basic life skill enhancement, support and placement assistance. Because the hospital is fairly close to New Orleans, families won't have to travel far to visit patients and can participate in the unit's family education program.

The patient center, named in honor of Dr. David J. Vial, also houses a cardiac department, dialysis services, an intensive care unit and a medical/surgical unit.

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