Rev. A. J. Johnson is the CEO and Founder of the Baton Rouge AIDS Society (BRASS). BRASS provides HIV testing and training services to over 5,000 individuals within the state of Louisiana on an annual basis with special emphasis on the Greater Baton Rouge area. This includes prisons, churches, schools and the general population. BRASS is the only agency that offers rapid testing 24/7/365 that provides testing for a fee by an experienced counselor at a time and location that is best for the client.
During his fight against HIV/AIDS, Rev. Johnson has served as a Disease Intervention Specialist with the Office of Public Health and Hospitals and the Assistant Executive Director of Friends for Life AIDS Resource Center. In 2013, Rev. Johnson was appointed by the governor as a member of the Louisiana Commission on HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis. He has worked with the HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region II Board of Directors and was recently elected to represent Baton Rouge on the Statewide HIV Community Planning Group.
He is a certified HIV Counselor by the Louisiana Office of Public Health Department of Health and Hospitals & Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a certified instructor through the Louisiana Department of Education, a certified Social Change Researcher through the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, a certified leadership instructor through the Kellogg Foundation and a certified HIV/AIDS instructor for Basic HIV/AIDS Information and African American HIV Training through the National Red Cross Association.
Rev. A.J. Johnson, a native of New Orleans, moved to Baton Rouge in December of 1995. In 1998, he decided to respond to the unmet needs of HIV/AIDS education within the Baton Rouge community by founding the first minority AIDS Servicing Organization (ASO) in the city, BRASS. For two years, the organization survived in the second bedroom of A.J.’s two bedroom apartment. In 2000, A.J. received his first major grant from the Office of Public Health to provide FREE HIV Counseling and Testing, Street Outreach, Condom Availability and Community Outreach services. As-of-date, the organization continues to be funded by this state office.
In 2005, BRASS received a grant from the Office of Minority Health to manage a Faith based AIDS Coalition for Technical assistance and Services (FACTS). Twelve churches were selected to participate in this three year funding period. In addition to the 12 churches, BRASS has 46 churches in the Baton Rouge and surrounding areas that are part of their Faith Based Initiative (The FBI).
With the support of his family, wife-Gabrielle Johnson and daughter-Jazmine Johnson, he is able to serve as an educational and motivational speaker at various local, regional and national events.
What concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall?
The presidential election may be getting all of the attention, but Louisiana residents will be making several important decisions at the ballot box in November. The U.S. Senate seat left up for grabs by retiring Sen. David Vitter has drawn a field of 24 candidates. Louisianians in the south- and northwest parts of the state will also be voting on congressmen. So, what national concerns are on citizens’ minds as they go to the polls this fall? What statewide issues should be on the mind of Louisiana’s next Congressional leaders? Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Election 2016” Wednesday, October 26 at 7p.m. (Taping Tuesday, October 25)
• Elizabeth Crisp / The Advocate
• Greg Hilburn / Gannett Newspapers
• Martin Johnson, Ph.D. / LSU Manship School of Mass Communication
• Albert Samuels, Ph.D. / Mandela School of Public Policy, Southern University
• Guest Host: Patricia Smith / Assistant to Dean of Political Science Dept., Southern University
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