Women’s retreat offers screenings, seminars

Health screenings, seminars and physical activities will be part of a “Women’s Retreat 2013: Celebrating Wellness and Culture” in Baton Rouge.

The free event will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators, 5550 Florida Blvd.

The women’s retreat is being hosted by the Louisiana Center for Health Equity, a nonprofit organization that works to address disparities in health care.

“The retreat is geared toward providing women with activities, education and empowerment to take charge of their body and life,” said Alma Stewart, president of the organization, in a news release.

Topics presented during the retreat will be “Women in the Workplace,” “Access to Health Care” and “HIV/AIDS Awareness and Prevention.”

Baton Rouge ranks first in the nation among major metropolitan areas for estimated AIDS case rates; women represent 37 percent of new cases in Baton Rouge, “much higher than the rest of the state,” according to the Louisiana Center for Health Equity.

Maggie Morgan, a clinical fellow with Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, will speak at the retreat on the “benefits that implementation of the Affordable Care Act and adoption of the optional Medicaid expansion” will have on people in Louisiana who have chronic health conditions.

“Up to 36 percent of people diagnosed with HIV in Louisiana were not receiving any HIV-related care in 2010,” Morgan said in a phone interview.

“This lack of care leads to poorer health outcomes and more expensive treatments ... the average lifetime cost of treating a person with HIV/AIDS is about $370,000 but the costs for people who progress to AIDS is much higher,” Morgan said.

In conjunction with the retreat, a press conference and Women’s Health Rally will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday at the State Capitol.

For more information on the “Women’s Retreat 2013” and the health rally, visit http://www.lahealthequity.org or go to Facebook and search for LACenterHealthEquity. The organization may also be reached by email at info@lahealthequity.org.